By Matt Farr
Rangers must deliver a fee of £250,000 upfront if they are to sign goalkeeper Jak Alnwick this month, according to a Port Vale source.
The Vale stopper has been lined-up as Mark Warburton’s next transfer target, with veteran Matt Gilks on the verge of a move to Wigan.
The English club are prepared to do business with Rangers over Alnwick, with manager Michael Brown admitting that he may have ‘played his last game for the club‘ after Ranger reportedly met his £250,000 release clause.
However, according to a source at Port Vale, club chairman Norman Smurthwaite is refusing to strike an agreement with Rangers unless they pay the £250,000 up-front. The Scottish club reportedly want to sign the player before paying the fee.
The Daily Record understands that Smurthwaite has doubts over the financial security at Ibrox.
He told the Record: “We don’t trust Rangers to pay the money so that money has to be received before we will cancel the contract. Unless we have the money in our bank, we won’t press that button.”
Alnwick, formerly of Newcastle, has been the undisputed No.1 at Port Vale this season, making 3o appearances in all competitions.
The 23-year-old has kept 10 clean sheets, and is expected to rival Wes Foderingham for a place in the first-team at Rangers.
Football Insider verdict
Port Vale’s reported concerns are well-founded. Although Rangers have made a considerable number of signings since the end of last season, the majority have been either loan deals or free transfers. They have yet to really show their spending power. They have only recently returned to the Scottish Premiership following their liquidation in 2011-12, but their finances still have a long way to go to catch up. The transfer fee for Alnwick is not much money at all, but for a club that continues to struggle to stay afloat, it feels like much more. Nevertheless, it would be an excellent signing for Rangers, and much more of a long-term asset than veteran Matt Gilks.
In other Rangers transfer news, Chelsea are believed to be on the verge of completing a deal for this Ibrox wonderkid.