Rumours linking Rangers with a move for Rapid Vienna’s Dejan Ljubicic have not gone away, but hopes of securing him for the bargain £2M are diminishing after Southampton joined the race for his signature alongside the usual rivals Celtic.
With three clubs after this highly-prized commodity, and Sporting Director Zoran Barisic admitting he ‘has a price’, chances of Rangers being able to get him for such a modest sum have definitely decreased and a potential bidding war for one of Austria’s more lucrative assets is probably inevitable.
The 22-year old is a highly-regarded rising star of world football, impressing greatly in his native defensive midfield role last season, including two standout displays v Rangers which boasted a goal, and with cash-rich Celtic and Southampton on his tail, it comes down to which team is likely to be willing to spend the most on him.
Barisic has admitted his club is as vulnerable as any to financial incentives, in these difficult times as the European world slowly grapples its way out of the passing health crisis into a new and growing financial one, so any capital to be made on valuable assets is likely to be seized upon.
And the club won’t stand in the youngster’s way if he wants to move on, but will want to make as much cash as they can. But there is another factor – player power.
Ljubicic will want to play, at his age, at his reputation – and he’s got a lot less chance of doing that at Southampton or Celtic than he does at Rangers.
On that basis, he can choose where he goes to, and as long as a decent amount is paid for him, Rangers have a stronger chance of securing their man.
But the question is will money or player choice win the day?
Time will tell.