Rangers to launch second Lafferty bid for forward may have to force Ibrox move
Rangers are getting ready to place a second bid for Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty.
The Ibrox club had an initial offer of £200,000 rejected on Friday - a bid that Hearts boss Craig Levein branded 'disappointing'.
Steven Gerrard's side are now expected to put £300,000 on the table in an attempt to bring their former forward back to the club. Lafferty is in the final year of his contract at Tynecastle, having scored 19 goals in 36 games last season, including three against Celtic.
Hearts want at least £750,000 to let the former Palermo forward go and the player may have to force the move through with a transfer request if he is desperate to get back to Ibrox. The 30-year-old does want to return to Rangers, even if he knows that life at an Old Firm club means greater scrutiny.
Azerbaijan side Qarabag and South Korea club FC Seoul are also interested in Lafferty but, with his wife Vanessa expecting their first child, Kyle would not entertain the thought of leaving Scotland.
Lafferty had started Hearts' first three League Cup games this season but was dropped to the bench for his side's 5-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday. Afterwards, his manager revealed fears of a month of 'nonsense' ahead until the transfer window slams shut.
This time last year, the two clubs were involved in a tussle over Jamie Walker. Hearts threw out several offers and the midfielder was left out of squads before a potential deal collapsed again on deadline day.
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And now Levein expects to have to work to keep former Rangers striker Lafferty firing on all cylinders amid the continued speculation over his future.
"As much as Kyle says it's not having an effect, I think it probably has," he said. "I had a long chat with him about his responsibilities as a professional and he was good. He tried like a bear when he came on. He was focused.
"My focus was on the team and trying to make sure that he would be able to assist us if he came on, and he did very well.
"The good thing is we only have another month of this nonsense until the transfer window closes. We had the same dealings with Rangers over Jamie Walker. So I kind of expect the same thing again."
When pressed on the difference in valuations between the two clubs, he added: "I'm not even going to talk about it, that's how much I think about it."