The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Warbs: ‘Villa are talking nonsense’
MARK WARBURTON hit back at claims from Aston Villa that Rangers reneged on the terms offered to Joleon Lescott.
The proposed transfer of the former England defender collapsed on Friday morning after a medical.
It was said Lescott, 34, decided against moving to Ibrox for personal reasons, but Villa owner Villa owner Dr Tony Xia then claimed money was at the root of the problem.
A tetchy Warburton flatly denied that suggestion.
He said: “Let me be really clear on this, it’s absolute nonsense.
“The personal terms were all agreed, it’s nothing to do with that.
“The player decided to keep his family in Manchester.
“He’s settled, with three young children – it’s absolute nonsense to say anything other than that.
“The fact he was up here tells you we were agreed on terms and there wasn’t a problem.
“It was really a big decision on the player’s part. I understand that.”
Warburton also denied there was any problem with the player’s medical but is anxious to avoid an ongoing feud with the English club.
He went on: “We are not going to justify any statement – we know what happened, the player knows what happened
“It is a big call on his part and we respect it.”
Rangers now look likely to turn to Swiss centre-back Philippe Senderos.
The defender will be back training with the Light Blues this morning.
Warburton said: “We are looking at a number of options.
“Philippe is in with us and it is important we make the right choices and the right decisions.
“He has been first class and trained well with us.
“For a guy that has been training away without a team, he has looked fit and strong.”
Meanwhile, Rangers confirmed the £1.8 million signing of striker Joe Garner from Preston North End.
He was paraded in front of the Ibrox crowd during half-time yesterday and later spoke of his delight at joining the club.
He said: “It’s great to get it over the line and now I’m looking forward to getting going.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere during the game against Motherwell and a great finish.
“The club has a great history, it’s massive.
“Driving to the ground with my family, you could sense the atmosphere and how much people love football up here.
“I’ve been brought in to score goals and hopefully that helps us to win titles and medals.”