Rovers' Ferguson frustration

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The Independent Football

The Blackburn Rovers manager, Graeme Souness, was yesterday told by Rangers to find £10m to buy the Scotland captain, Barry Ferguson.

Souness made an official approach for the midfielder yesterday after the unsettled player let the Glasgow club know that he wanted a fresh challenge.

Souness said: "I have spoken to David Murray in the last 24 hours and I will be speaking to him again today but that does not mean we will be buying Barry Ferguson... He is someone I have admired for a long time. I have known him since he was 12 years old and I think he would be a very good player in the Premiership.

"I know the player fancies coming to England and I would love to think we could afford him after the players we have sold but we will see. I have got to persuade the board to spend the money."

But the Blackburn offer, which is around £5m, is only half of what Rangers have said they want for their long-serving captain. Souness now faces an anxious wait before the transfer deadline and may miss out on Ferguson because of Rangers' high valuation.

Rovers sold Damien Duff to Chelsea for £17m, but their board are unlikely to sanction an offer of £10m for Ferguson. Insiders believe that Rangers, who have debts of close to £80m, would take £8m if they miss out on the Champions' League this week, but even that sum will be too much for Blackburn who are not going to pay inflated prices.

Ferguson's decision to push for a transfer has helped Blackburn, who are one of the most financially secure Premiership sides, but the upset this has caused has made it hard for Rangers to let him go without a fight - and a big fee.