By Noel Whelan

14th Aug, 2021 | 4:04pm

Pundit makes 'huge' Rangers transfer claim after shock development

Noel Whelan has suggested failing to qualify for the Champions League has dealt Rangers a “huge blow” in the transfer window.

The former Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested Steven Gerrard may struggle to strengthen his squad without playing among Europe’s elite.

Rangers were beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Malmo to end their hopes of making the Champions League group stages.

They will instead face a play-off game against Alashkert to qualify for the Europa League.

Whelan admitted the financial impact was “massive” for the Light Blues.

He suggested Gerrard’s transfer plans would be hit hard as a result of what he deemed a shock result.

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Whelan told Football Insider deputy editor Russell Edge: “It’s a huge blow. Financially, it’s massive for the club.

“I don’t know how much they’re losing but it goes into the tens of millions. That financial blow will really hit them.

“When you’re in the Champions League and qualified for the Champions League, there are signings for you.

“That’s a way to improve the squad and give Steven Gerrard that money there and the option to get bigger and better players.

“Players that are going to help his chances of retaining the Premiership. So yeah, it’s huge, its massive, it’s not been a great start.

“I don’t think anybody saw this on the cards, the way they finished the season. With how well they did in Europe, I think everyone felt they’d progress straight through.”

Rangers also lost their first home game of the new Premiership season to Dundee United.

However, they bounced back with a 5-0 victory over Dunfermline in the Scottish League Cup.

In other news, Rangers have been backed to agree to release clause amid senior star contract talks.