EXCLUSIVE By Wayne Veysey

Derby County are leading the chase to sign Rangers target Graeme Shinnie on a free transfer from Aberdeen, Football Insider understands.

Shinnie is out of contract at Aberdeen at the end of the season and has been the subject of interest from a number of clubs in Scotland and England.

The 27-year-old left-back, who can also play in midfield, has yet to agree a new deal at Aberdeen and he has been free to talk to other clubs since January.

Rangers and Hearts have both been strongly linked with moves for Shinnie from their Scottish Premiership rivals Aberdeen, while several English Championship sides have also shown an interest in the Scotland international.

The likes of Sheffield United and Bristol City have made offers for Shinnie, but a source close to the club has told Football Insider that Derby have now leapfrogged their Championship rivals in the battle to win the race for the Scotland international’s signature.

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Derby boss Frank Lampard is looking to strengthen his squad ahead of next season and Shinnie’s availability on a free transfer and his versatility in that he can play at left-back and midfield makes him an attractive option for Lampard.

The source said Rangers are ready to pull out of the race for Shinnie after he was pursued by director of football Mark Allen.

In other Rangers transfer news, it can be REVEALED that the Ibrox club are on the verge of signing a player after agreeing the terms of a £15,000-a-week deal.