Rangers willing to let Arteta go home

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The Independent Football

Rangers have confirmed that they are willing to listen to offers for their Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta. The 21-year-old wants to return to his homeland after just one season at Ibrox, in which he helped the club to the treble.

The £5.8m signing from Barcelona has been linked with a return to the Catalan club and Atletico Madrid are also interested.

Arteta and his agent, Miguel Santos, held a meeting with the Rangers director of football business, Martin Bain, last week, when the player, who has three years of his contract to run, made it clear he wanted out.

Bain said: "The meeting was requested by Mikel Arteta because within his contract there is reference to holding an annual meeting to discuss the player's development.

"He indicated his desire to return to Spain. We had told him that we wanted him to stay. However, we will not stand in the player's way if the price is good and it is good business for Rangers."

Arteta, who had played against Rangers the previous season while on loan at Paris St-Germain, played 35 times, scoring five goals. Two were vital penalties which were instrumental in pipping Celtic to the title on the last day of the season.

News that Arteta was unsettled in Scotland emerged when he said yesterday: "This year in Scotland I have shown that I can adapt myself, and I think I played well this season. I like Spanish football and I would enjoy myself more there."

Arteta missed the Spain Under-21 side's 4-1 win over Northern Ireland in Lurgan on Tuesday because of a calf injury, which also kept him out of the Scottish Cup final triumph over Dundee.

The Rangers midfielder Ronald de Boer has turned down a lucrative move to the Middle East. The 32-year-old had been offered the chance to join the likes of Gabriel Batistuta in Qatar in a player-coach role. But he said: "They have asked me to go there but I don't have any interest in it. They have made me a generous offer - although talk of a £4m deal is ridiculous - but I want to be involved in Euro 2004 in Portugal.

"If I were to go to Qatar, my chances of playing in the finals will disappear."

Meanwhile, Porto's Nuno Capucho has indicated he would be willing to join the Ibrox club. He said: "If there is an agreement between the two clubs I would strongly consider the possibility."