Rangers chase Gazza

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The Independent Online
Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, yesterday confirmed that the Scottish champions were close to agreeing an audacious deal which would take Paul Gascoigne from Lazio to Ibrox.

Speaking after his side had lost 3-0 to Celtic, Smith said: "We have agreed a fee with Lazio for Gascoigne. I was in Rome on Friday to talk to the Lazio manager and asked about taking him to Rangers. Although I have still to meet with Gascoigne's agents, after I have done so it will then be up to Gascoigne himself to make up his mind."

Rangers' move is certain to spark frenetic activity by English clubs also seeking to sign Gascoigne. Newcastle, Everton, Leeds, Queen's Park Rangers and Middlesbrough have all expressed an interest and other leading clubs are also likely to join the fray.

Smith refused to give any indication as to the fee involved, although it is expected to be around £4m. There are also suggestions that Rangers could be prepared to provide Gascoigne with a £1m country house should he decide to join them.

The move is clearly designed with next season's European Cup in mind and although there has been no indication yet as to whether Rangers would be seeded, they badly want to be involved in the Champions' League.

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