Blackburn win race for Ferguson

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The Independent Football

Blackburn Rovers agreed a £7.5m fee for Barry Ferguson last night to win a transfer battle and take the Rangers and Scotland captain out of the Champions' League fixture with Manchester United.

Ferguson headed for Lancashire to sort out a five-year contract worth a further £9m after manager Graeme Souness' success in securing his signature despite interest from Everton.

Souness restructured Blackburn's offer yesterday and his club will pay Rangers £6.5m up front with the extras based on appearances. This was too good to refuse and also bettered Everton's bid by some distance.

The package was accepted by the Rangers' board at a hurried meeting and their minds were also influenced by Ferguson's insistence that he wanted to go to England and Blackburn in particular.

Souness is "delighted'' by the coup. Rangers accepted the cash windfall on both counts and the millions will help their bank balance.

However, it is a blow for Everton who went for Ferguson after missing out on Fulham's Sean Davis. A move by them for Steve McManaman was also floundering last night to add to the frustration of David Moyes, the manager.