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Rangers lead race for McAuley

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Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley has been linked with a move to Rangers

Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley has been linked with a move to Rangers

Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley has been linked with a move to Rangers

Rangers are closing in on Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley.

The Scottish giants are ready to offer £2million for the defender but Premier League side Bolton are also ready to swoop for the Ipswich Town man.

McAuley, who was voted Player of the Year by Ipswich fans this season, could fill the boots of David Weir at Ibrox though Bolton boss Owen Coyle is also looking to replace Gary Cahill who is likely to leave in the summer.

The 30-year-old has not always seen eye to eye with Town boss Roy Keane but a dramatic improvement in form saved him from the axe and attracted new admirers.

If Rangers do swoop for McAuley and reunite him with Northern Ireland team-mates Steven Davis and Kyle Lafferty, it would be a long awaited return to the transfer market for manager Walter Smith.

“We can’t go another season when we don’t sign many players,” he said. “If the Old Firm don’t sign players that are among the best in the country then they will not win, it’s as simple as that.”

Weir has yet to agree terms on a new deal at Ibrox and Smith hopes to assemble a bigger squad.

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Capped 20 times for Northern Ireland, McAuley has been named in the squad for the friendly internationals against Turkey and Chile later this month.

One man from Northern Ireland the Scottish giants have signed is Under-19 international Andrew Mitchell, who joins from Manchester City.

The 18-year-old midfielder is included in the Under-19 side that will take part in this month’s European Championships.

Meanwhile, in the Carling Premiership, Crusaders have snapped up former Glentoran striker Michael Halliday in a three-year-deal. Another former Glentoran hero, Glen Little, has been released by Sheffield United.

And Portsmouth’s Marc Wilson, who switched allegiance from Northern Ireland to the Republic, is being chased by West Brom and Fulham.


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