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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rangers close in on signing of Juan Manuel Ortiz

Rangers are hoping to complete the signing of Juan Manuel Ortiz from Spanish club Almeria on Tuesday.

The Spanish midfielder is in Glasgow for talks and should sign on the dotted line in the next 24 hours after a deal was agreed between the two clubs.

Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has offered Rangers two players on loan.

Bongani Khumalo is a 24-year-old South Africa central defender and Jake Livermore is a 21-year-old midfielder.

The offer followed talks between Redknapp and Rangers owner Craig Whyte.

But it is 29-year-old Ortiz who looks poised to become Ally McCoist's first signing since he took over as Rangers manager from Walter Smith at the end of last season.

Ortiz, who arrived at Rangers' Murray Park training base on Monday, has spent four years at Almeria.

However, the Andalusian club's four-year spell in Spain's top flight came to an end last season when they finished 20th and were relegated from La Liga.

Ortiz was a graduate of Atletico Madrid's youth system but spent loan spells with Osasuna and Poli Ejido before heading to Almeria.

While at Juegos Mediterraneos stadium, the player also known as Juanma not only played in midfield but on both flanks of defence.

McCoist has so far been thwarted in efforts to sign Dundee United striker David Goodwillie, winger Craig Conroy, who joined Cardiff City from United, Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar and midfielder Neil Danns, who left Crystal Palace for Leicester City.

However, he has been able to secure several key first-team players on extended contracts.

Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis, who is entering the final year of his current deal, is the latest to be offered a five-year contract extension.

That was the length of deal signed on Monday by defender Steven Whittaker, while Scotland colleague Allan McGregor agreed a six-year extension to remain the number one goalkeeper at Ibrox.

Forward David Healy, utility man Andrew Little, left-back Sasa Papac and winger Salim Kerkar had already signed new one-year deals at Ibrox this summer.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue with veteran defender and captain David Weir.

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