McClaren views Butt as ideal buy

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The Independent Football

The Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren, said he would be "first on the phone" to sign Nicky Butt if the Manchester United midfielder ever became available. Butt has hinted that his future might have to be away from Old Trafford if he does not get more first-team chances.

"He would be the perfect player for us," McClaren said. "If it was possible, I would be first on that phone. He is a fantastic player. He won't be very happy not being in that side. In training he gives 100 per cent and I'm sure he will be kicking every midfielder in the squad to get back into that side!"

However, McClaren, who worked with Butt during his time as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson, believes Butt will break back into United's first team on a regular basis. "Nicky reacts in a most positive way. When he gets his opportunity he won't let it go. He is important to Manchester United because he is part of that core that came through together - the Nevilles, Giggs, Scholes, Butt."

The Rangers chairman, John McClelland, has targeted a big reduction in the club's £68m debt after arresting the huge operating losses.

The Ibrox club said on Friday that they expected a small profit would be made on the six months to the end of the calendar year, in stark contrast to a £10m loss over the same period last year. Now McClelland is determined to wipe at least £20m off the debt to put the club on a more sound financial platform.

"The first thing I wanted to do was reduce the big losses we have been accumulating year on year because, if you keep having that level of losses, you're adding to your debt all the time," McClelland said.

"We've done that first step. The next step is to start reducing the level of debt. I would be comfortable with £40m or £50m of debt, but I'm not comfortable with £68m. I want to reduce that by £20m or £25m over the next year or two."