UFA manager Sergei Tomarov says he wants to pinch Rangers best players if they dump the Ibrox side out of the Europa League tonight.
Rangers raided beaten opponents Osijek for Borna Barisic and are close to agreeing another deal with the Croatians for winger Eros Grezda. Now the Russian boss says he would like to do the same to Steven Gerrard’s squad after taking a fancy to Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier and Connor Goldson.
Ufa have already signed frontman Lovro Bizjak from NK Domzale, who they defeated in their opening qualifier, and are set to agree a deal for Progres Niederkorn midfielder Olivier Thill after edging out the Luxumbourg outfit to set up their play-off clash with Gerrard’s men.
And Tomarov says he has got his eye on the Gers trio after they impressed in last week’s first leg in Glasgow - but admits time is against him with tomorrow’s transfer deadline looming.
The Ufa boss – whose side need to overturn the Goldson goal which gave Rangers a 1-0 lead to clinch their place in the group stages – said: “Who do I fancy? Rangers have may fine footballers. I really liked Alfredo Morelos up front, Connor Goldson in the centre of defence and the captain James Tavernier at right-back. “However, time isn’t on our side.”
Ufa were only formed in 2011 but have made rapid progress up through the Russian lower leagues, winning promotion to the top flight within three years.
Now they stand of the verge of a place in the group stages and Tomarov, left, says the second leg at the Neftyanik Stadium is the biggest game in their short history.
“This is the most important game in our history because we’ve gone in seven years from the third tier of Russian football to the Premier League,” he said. “Now we’re in the Europa League and within touching distance of the group stage. Qualification is the most important stage for us at this period in our history.”
Tomarov’s side have lost three in a row and have only won two games out of their last 10 games. He added: “In 12 games since the season started on July 26 the team suffered some defeats and bad results, so we will try not to look in the past and concentrate only on the future. We’re looking forward. We’ll do everything to win against Rangers.”