Three ambitious targets to whom Rangers could turn if their move for Joey Barton falls through

Joey Barton

The Burnley midfielder is said to be in talks over a free transfer switch to Ibrox.

Rangers are in talks to sign Burnley midfielder Joey Barton on a free transfer, according to widespread reports.

But the move could yet be scuppered by Barton's allegiance to Old Firm rivals Celtic, which was unearthed at the weekend, while his current employers also have an offer on the table.

Barton, though, isn't the only experienced midfielder available on a free transfer. Here are three of the ambitious variety, should Rangers miss out.

Darron Gibson

The Republic of Ireland international has barely featured in recent campaigns, averaging fewer than ten appearances in each of the previous three due to injuries. A key member of David Moyes' tough-to-beat Everton side before then, he was also a Premier League and League Cup winner during his time at Manchester United. For all his recent form, Barton, who is five years Gibson's senior, has never quite reached those heights.

Mathieu Flamini

Freed by Arsenal this week, alongside former Ibrox loanee Mikel Arteta (who is sadly retiring, scuppering his chances of appearing on this list), the Frenchman is another to have played at a far higher level than Barton - and more consistently than Gibson too. Having only recently turned 32, Flamini has 18 months on the Burnley man, and as a potential billionaire thanks to an off-field energy venture, he might ease off on the wage demands.

Raul Meireles

A little bit pie-in-the-sky, I'll grant you that. But if Aston Villa are in the running to sign him then why can't Rangers be? The former Liverpool and Chelsea man boasts an impressive CV - from which a Champions League winners medal stands out - though a challenge such as this one could appeal at this stage of his career. Ibrox head of recruitment Frank McParland was working at Anfield when Meireles arrived from Porto six years ago.

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