England will be the losers in Rangers' union with McGazza

Glenn Moore still hopes Paul Gascoigne will decide against a move to Glasgow
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The Independent Online
We have not yet been treated to the mind-boggling sight of "McGazza" wearing a kilt (do not even think about asking him if he wears anything underneath) but that will surely come - assuming Paul Gascoigne's transfer to Rangers goes ahead.

That remains a large assumption, as nothing Gascoigne does is predictable, on or off the field. While both his retinue of advisers, and the club, keep saying the deal is all but signed, delivery - or, in Lazio's case, deliverance - is not yet sealed.

For various contractual reasons it appears Gazza will not be trading pasta for porridge until 30 June. Time enough to reconsider the move. Is it a good one - and who for?

There are three areas of concern about Gascoigne going to Glasgow - his form, his fitness, and his inability to stay out of trouble. Pity Strathclyde: no sooner have they got shot of Duncan Ferguson than Gazza arrives in town. Even in London, a much bigger city less obsessed with football, Gazza has had problems. The chance of him avoiding trouble in a Glasgow restaurant, bar, or night-club - is slim indeed.

Even if he behaves himself he will be provoked - several "Old Firm" players have been drawn into unsavoury incidents in the past. While it is a southern misconception to regard Glasgow as a city reeling with anti-English drunks, there will always be a minority who fancy having a go at such a high-profile Sassenach.

Then there is the need to stay out of danger on the pitch. Scottish football has lost some of the "hammer-throwing" mentality Graeme Souness referred to, but it is much faster than anything Gascoigne has played in. Even with his ability, he is likely to be crocked - as much by a mistimed tackle as a malicious one.

Then there is his form. With the addition of Gascoigne the Scottish Premier will become even more of a procession for Rangers. With due respect, playing the likes of Partick, Raith and Kilmarnock every week is not going to sharpen Gascoigne's game.

Brian Laudrup, Scotland's player of the year, is said to have answered the question, "Don't you get fed up with playing rubbish every week?" with the reply, "It is OK, I can face good players when I play for Denmark."

It seems enough for him. Laudrup's form is the best argument for Gascoigne's move. He has been outstanding for Rangers, barely missing a game through injury, and has shone for Denmark.

There is also the prospect of the European Cup. Only Blackburn of the clubs south of the border can offer that lure and it is hard to see them emulating Rangers' achievement two years ago and reaching the semi-finals.

Even so, it is strange that neither they, Manchester United, Liverpool or Newcastle were interested in Gascoigne. While going to Newcastle may have caused too many problems, and it is hard to imagine him in the Liverpool set-up, Blackburn could do with his imagination and United his Englishness.

There are good reasons for joining Rangers. Gascoigne will win his first championship, swell his already bulging wallet, enjoy a high quality life off the pitch and be well looked after.

But, apart from the yearly assault on the European Cup, he will not play against decent opposition and it will be a small miracle if he can avoid featuring on the front pages of the Scottish tabloids, as well as the back.

Of course, we English are envious. Having lost the pleasure of watching Klinsmann, Gascoigne's return would have been fair compensation. But there is also the thought that, for the good of the player and the national team, he would have been better off coming home.