Rangers chief jets overseas as he steps up mission to land prime summer target - report

By Alex Stevens

Rangers manager Mark Warburton is set for a second transatlantic mission in a week as he steps up efforts to land Niko Kranjcar.

The former Tottenham, QPR and Portsmouth winger is contracted to New York Cosmos until 28 May and is then free to move clubs.

The Daily Record claim that Warburton is preparing to fly to the US for the second time in just over a week to convince Kranjcar to move to Ibrox.

Warburton held opening talks with the Croatia international last week and is ready to fly to the States again after Rangers’ Scottish Cup final showdown against Hibernian on Saturday.

Kranjcar, 31, joined Cosmos from Dynamo Kiev earlier this year on a short-term contract and his pedigree and availability appeals to Rangers, who are strengthening their squad as they prepare for a return to the Scottish Premiership next season.

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The Scottish giants are also in talks to sign Joey Barton, who travelled to Glasgow for negotiations with the club last weekend and is weighing up an offer.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton has targeted the high-profile duo as he bids to end Celtic’s run of five consecutive titles.

Cosmos admit they face a battle to keep hold of Kranjcar.

“We are hopeful we can do an extension with Niko but we are aware clubs are interested in him,” said chief operating officer Erik Stover. “I think he would like to stay with us, it’s a negotiating process.

“There’s an interest from both parties to work something out but time will tell.

“We have been very open with each other from the beginning. Within the next few weeks we’ll know, he needs clarity and so do we.

“I wasn’t aware of Rangers interest, but I’m not surprised. He’s been an outstanding player on the field and wonderful off it.”

Harry Redknapp signed Kranjcar on three separate occasions and also recruited Barton during his spell in charge of QPR.

“I’d take Niko all day long,” Redknapp told the Daily Record. “He’s a fantastic player. Really technically gifted and a terrific footballer.

“I had a good relationship with Niko and he played for me quite a few times. The talent is there without question and the best part is that he’s a great lad as well to go with his ability.

“The key to getting the very best out of him is to keep him fit. All in all, he is a top-class player and would represent quite a signing for Rangers.”

In other Rangers news, one of the team’s emerging stars could be playing in the Premier League next season.