Rangers believe Craig Whyte can submit a bid for the club next week

Rangers believe Craig Whyte can submit a bid for the club next weekRangers hope Craig Whyte can formally submit a bid to take control of the Ibrox club on Monday, despite the emergence of a £2.8m tax liability.

Rangers are already in the midst of a potentially significant investigation from HM Revenue and Customs relating to offshore payments to players. Their chairman Alastair Johnston admitted that the settling of a separate £2.8m case, on account of payments made for previous signings, is damaging for a club who are tightly in the grip of the Lloyds Banking Group.

"It really, really is frustrating," said Johnston. "No one knew about it a couple of months ago. It relates to more than two or three players, but it relates to an issue 10 or 11 years ago. These were schemes that abounded 10, 11, 12 years ago. I don't know the context of doing it."

Johnston denied, though, that the penalty will scupper Whyte's bid to take control of David Murray's majority Rangers stake. "I don't think it is a deal-breaker," said Johnston.

"I'm frustrated by it for a lot of reasons. I don't like this, it wasn't in any plan, it wasn't in our budgets or anything that we have been trying to do. We have a very disciplined approach to what we do right now and I didn't like that appearing over the horizon suddenly."

The chairman explained that the validity of Whyte's bid should become fully apparent over the weekend. It is clear, though, that Johnston and the Rangers board hope the protracted affair can be settled.

"The amount of money being spent on due diligence – albeit it went on too long – and his continued commitment of time, effort and money spent to advance discussions have been significant," said Johnston of Whyte. "His willingness to engage has been very different [to other interested parties]. The talk over funds with Murray – it has been reported to me that there's a lot more security on that front."

Rangers, who remain upset by Lloyds' policy towards the club, reported an interim profit of £11.9m. "[There is] an environment where the management team is reluctant to sell players because they don't know if they'll get enough money to replace them," the chairman said. "Then you get into a situation where we run down our assets and don't have the opportunity to trade them in a cycle. We have run down this squad to the point where it can't continue."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ewan Murray, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 1st April 2011 22.59 Europe/London

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