New Rangers signing James Sands reveals how Claudio Reyna discussion sold him on move to Ibrox, while Jack Simpson nears loan exit

The USA international penned an 18-month loan deal from New York City FC last week

James Sands has revealed how a quick phone call with his compatriot Claudio Reyna sold him on a move to Rangers.

The 21-year-old became Light Blues boss Giovanni van Bronkchorst’s first signing of the January transfer window after he completed an 18-month loan deal from New York City FC.

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The US international is the latest in an impressive line of American players to seal a move to Ibrox, a list including the likes of Reyna, Carlos Bocanegra and Maurice Edu.

Claudio Reyna helped Rangers to a league and cup double in 2000. Picture: SNS

The defensive midfielder, who is an national team-mate of Claudio’s son Gio, knows Reyna from his time at New York City where he held the position of sporting director as Sands began his professional career.

He insisted his heart was set on a switch to Glasgow after seeking advice from the former Gers legend.

Sands told Rangers TV: “Rangers have a great tradition so far of American players, guys who have done well and made an impact.

“When I knew that Rangers were interested I gave Claudio a call, and he gave me great advice about what it was like and how great his experience was.

“That was definitely a motivating factor for me. If I can make anywhere near the impact he made, it will be successful for me and the club.”

Sands admits the attraction of playing European football and being part of a winning team at Rangers was a huge pull in his decision to join the club.

He stated: “It’s a massive moment for me, coming to a club with such a good tradition and a winning history like Rangers.

“It’s a big step for me and I’m looking forward to working with a top group of players and coaches, so I’m super excited to get started.

“With the ambitions that Rangers have both domestically in Scotland and in Europe as well, I think it made sense going to a club that have those aims and is willing to work on developing me as a player and a person.

“That was a big reason and also playing in front of a fanbase like Rangers is an important step and it’s big for me to learn how to play in those environments.”

Sands broke into the United States national team last summer and has since gone on to earn seven caps to date.

He has now set his sight on a place in the squad for Qatar 2022 and believes moving to Scotland’s top-flight will boost his prospects of making the team.

James Sands is nearing a move to Rangers. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Sands added: “Getting the exposure at Rangers will be helpful for future call ups and hopefully it can help me get to the World Cup.

“Over the last two, three years, we have seen a big wave of American players making the jump to Europe but I think I am one of the first to come to Scotland, which is cool and unique.

“I think for young American kids growing up, seeing players make an impact at the biggest levels in Europe is a massive inspiration and I think there will be more American players to follow.”

Meanwhile, Rangers outcast Jack Simpson is set to be offered a route out of Ibrox English Championship side Middlesbrough.

The 25-year-old defender’s career has stalled since joining the Scottish champions from Bournemouth last year and Boro boss Chris Wilder is reportedly keen to take him on loan.

Simpson, who has featured on just two occasions this season, has been told he is free to leave before the transfer window closes if a suitable deal can be struck.