Mark Warburton says Rangers need to follow Celtic's lead; defends transfer loophole

Rangers manager Mark Warburton

The Old Firm rivals have taken to whisking away some of the brightest talent south of the border for minimal fees.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton says the Ibrox club need to follow the example set by Old Firm rivals Celtic and target young, out-of-contract stars like Moussa Dembele, the Birmingham Mail reports.

While many of the Gers' experienced signings, namely the departed Joey Barton, the injured Niko Kranjcar and the frozen out Philippe Senderos, have ranged from the anonymous to the disastrous, Celtic are cruising at the top of the table with Dembele scoring prolifically up front.

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The France youth international was snapped up from Fulham after his contract expired at Craven Cottage, meaning Celtic were required to pay just £500,000 in a development fee, according to The Mirror – with various reports suggesting he is now worth 40 times as much.

Celtic's Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring their first goal

And Warburton admits that he is attempting to take inspiration from the Bhoys' approach and target talented, England-based youngsters who are approaching the end of their contracts, meaning potential suitors can start negotiations in the final six months of their deal.

This is due to a loophole in guidelines which allow clubs based in a different country to bring in a player under the age of 24 from England without having to pay huge sums at a tribunal.

“We have to find a way of attracting talent. Celtic have done exactly the same by getting Moussa Dembele – it’s the same process,” said the former Brentford boss, who used this approach to bring Jordan Rossiter and Joe Dodoo in from Liverpool and Leicester City respectively, as reported by the Birmingham Mail.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton

“No club wants to lose their best young players. But the English clubs are aware of the situation – it’s a UEFA directive.

“All we did was adhere to UEFA guidelines. It’s a loophole for us. It helps us with targets and recruitment. Could we afford to buy certain players without it? No we couldn’t.

“Take Jordan Rossiter. Who knows where he’ll be in three years’ time?"

Rangers are reportedly ready to take full use of the system once more to bring talented 18-year-old forward Rushian Hepburn-Murphy from Aston Villa.

Aston Villa's Rushian Hepburn Murphy in action

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