Rangers icon outlines 'obvious fear' Clement's side have about Celtic as he identifies how they can bridge the gap

Jefte has penned a four-year deal with Rangers.Jefte has penned a four-year deal with Rangers.
Jefte has penned a four-year deal with Rangers.
A former Rangers captain has offered his take on the club’s summer transfer business, with more new arrivals expected

Barry Ferguson is adamant the Rangers board will do everything they can to bridge the gap with Celtic - insisting the shrewd acquisitions of Jefte and Oscar Cortes could kickstart an exciting summer recruitment drive.

The Ibrox side fell short in the Scottish Premiership title race last season, with their arch rivals securing automatic Champions League qualification in the process. That proved a bitter pill to swallow for Philippe Clement’s side, having briefly put themselves in the pole position to wrestle back the silverware.

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With Clement now finally in a position to put his own stamp on the Light Blues squad he inherited from Michael Beale last October as the Belgian prepares to enter his first summer transfer window, former Gers skipper Ferguson believes luring players of a high calibre similar to January recruit Mohamed Diomande to Govan could prove pivotal in posing a greater challenge to Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops.

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Full-back Jefte has already moved to Glasgow on a four-year deal from Brazilian outfit Fluminense, having spent last season on loan at Cypriot champions APOEL. He was followed in the door by Colombian international Cortes who has agreed a year-long loan switch from French side RC Lens, with Rangers having an obligation to buy the winger next summer. 

Writing in his Daily Record column, Ferguson said: “Having been around the club a lot over the last 12 months, I could sense the level of disappointment all around when the title slipped away over the final few weeks of last season.

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“But I also felt a real determination to do something serious about it. We all know that Celtic are going to hit the jackpot in European football’s richest competition next season but Rangers also have a chance of joining them there through the qualifiers. The obvious fear is that Celtic could disappear over the horizon now that they’re about to pile another fortune into the bank.

“There will be a contingency plan already drawn up for how to go about bridging the financial gap in the event that Rangers have to settle for the Europa League instead. But it would make life a lot easier for all concerned if Clement can find a way of making it through into the big one and that will be the only aim right now. “That’s why (John) Bennett will have his work cut out in trying to get the new recruits into the building as quickly as possible and, to his credit, three deals have been completed already with Leon Balogun signing a new one year deal, Oscar Cortes penning a new loan with an obligation to buy and Brazilian left back Jefte sorted out.

“I find it interesting that Jefte and Cortes were identified around the same time as Mohamed Diomande who has already made a decent impact over his first six months in Glasgow. There will be a lot more to come from Diomande next season and if Cortes and Jefte are of a similar level then Rangers will have made a very strong start to the recruitment drive.

“Keeping big (Leon) Balogun at the club was a no brainer for me. Yes, he may be 35-years-old but he looks to me like the consummate professional. I’m delighted he will be sticking around to offer some continuity as Clement rings the changes elsewhere.

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“With five players released already, the manager will know exactly how he wants his squad to look when he gets back to Auchenhowie. So, while the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the show (Euro 2024) in Germany, Rangers don’t have that same luxury.”

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