Rangers have been told their pre-contract offer for Alfie Doughty is destined to fail – as he has agreed terms with Stoke City.
The runaway Scottish Premiership leaders and Celtic have both lodged offers for the versatile Charlton Athletic defender, 21, as they look to land him on a cut-price summer deal.
But Stoke are closing in on the signature of Doughty after their £650,000 bid was accepted by the Addicks.
Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that Rangers chiefs have been told that Doughty has agreed terms in principle with Stoke.
Michael O’Neill’s side are set to sign the left footer, who can play at left-back or left midfield, on a buy-to-loan deal.
It would see him pen a long-term contract with Stoke before heading back to Charlton on loan for the rest of the season.
The south London club view that as a reasonable deal as it will allow them to recoup a major fee for their academy product as well as have his services for the remainder of the campaign as they chase League One promotion.
Rangers have targeted a number of potential pre-contract deals this month, with the likes of Preston North End duo Ben Davies and Daniel Johnson also on their radar.
Cross-border rules allow the Scottish clubs to exploit a loophole and tie English-based stars out of contract in June to January pre-contract agreements.
Doughty has missed a big chunk of this season due to injury but is regarded as a big talent capable of playing at the highest level.