Raskin to Rangers deal 'getting closer' but work still to be done

Beale says Morgan Whittaker will be staying at Swansea.

Nicolas Raskin to Rangers deal ‘getting closer’ but work still to be done SNS Group

Nicolas Raskin’s move from Standard Liege to Rangers is “getting closer” but Michael Beale insists that work has still to be done to get the transfer over the line.

Reports early on Monday claimed the deal has been agreed and that the 20-year-old would be joining the Ibrox side imminently.

However the Rangers manager says its not yet guaranteed as the Ibrox side compete with others for the Belgian’s signature.

Speaking ahead of their game against Hearts on Wednesday Beale said: “I’ve just seen it going across the bottom of the (television) screen that it’s done. That’s not true.

“He’s an excellent player, there is loads of interest in him, he has a lot of options I believe.

“He is someone who can connect the midfield and the forwards, he is technically a very good player. He can play as a six or an eight and he will be a good signing for someone.

“There is a lot of competition for his signature. He is a sought-after player in Europe, it is an eye-catching one because of his age and the fact that his contract is running down.

“He has a lot of people who like him, he is a player very well thought of in the Belgium national team set-up as well.

“I can’t confirm anything right now but we are closer, but it’s not guaranteed right this second.”

Raskin has made 50 appearances for Standard Liege since making his debut as a teenager four years ago.

He has also played for Belgium at every level below the first team, including six appearances for the Under-21 side.

Swansea’s Morgan Whittaker was also a target for the Ibrox club but Beale said: “He will be staying at Swansea I believe.

“There was just one bid that went in that got rejected. There’s been a lot of hot air around the situation.

“I think he’s a boy they like, that’s why they brought him back from (a loan at) Plymouth. They’ve obviously got their plans with him.

“I thought he was the most eye-catching player in League One this season and he’s gone back to Swansea, they’re probably looking at the league table and thinking he’s a valuable asset.

“There’s no problem with it, he’s a good player and I wish him and Swansea well.”

Rangers beat St Johnstone 2-0 at Ibrox on Saturday to remain undefeated under Beale and stay nine-points behind Celtic in the title race ahead of the midweek game against in-form Hearts who are now unbeaten in 10 games after Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Livingston.

The former QPR manager, who replaced Giovanni van Brnckhorst at Ibrox at the end of last year, anticipates a difficult match against Robbie Neilson’s third-placed Jambos.

“Robbie has done a fantastic job for his second time at Hearts,” said Beale, who has won nine and drawn one of his 10 games since taking over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November.

“Playing in Europe, like it did for us, it kicks you on two or three notches. The fact that they had European group stage football this season would have taken his players on two or three levels and I think we are seeing that domestically in their performances.

“This is the strongest Hearts squad I can remember. I always like going to Tynecastle, it is a feisty game.

“Their fans are up for it. I’m sure they are looking forward to us going there and we are looking forward to going there.”

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