Sport

Rangers tie up loan deals as Oliver Burke joins Celtic

Oliver Burke (left) will spend the rest of the season at Celtic on loan from West Brom
By Liam Maguire

RANGERS have boosted their Scottish Premiership title chances by completing the high-profile loan signings of Jermain Defoe and Northern Ireland international captain Steven Davis.

The 18-month deal for former England striker Defoe, a scorer of 162 Premier League goals, was announced on Sunday afternoon, followed by confirmation of the Davis deal.

Davis spent four years at Ibrox between 2008 and 2012, where he made over 200 appearances and won eight major trophies – including three league titles.

Manager Steven Gerrard told the club’s official website: “Steven has previously captained the club and been captain for his country and Southampton, so we welcome yet another leader into our dressing room.”

The signings are a huge boost for Gerrard’s men, who for the first time in a number of years are in a legitimate title tussle. Locked level on points with Celtic, Rangers are in with a real chance and Gerrard described Defoe’s signing as “a great addition to our dressing room”.

Defoe has scored goals wherever he has played, 273 of them in a club career taking in the likes of West Ham, Tottenham, Sunderland and Portsmouth.

“He is an exceptionally talented striker and vastly experienced footballer who has scored goals at every club he has played for,” Gerrard said.

“We look forward to integrating him into the squad whilst we work in Tenerife over the next week.”

Rangers have also signed pre-contract agreements with midfielder Glen Kamara and winger Jordan Jones.

Finland international Kamara, who came through the ranks at Arsenal, has been with Dundee since 2017.

Jones, a Northern Ireland international, joined Killie in 2016 from Middlesbrough and, on his official Twitter account, he said: “Unbelievably proud day for me and my family, I’ve waited for this moment for a long time and today is a dream come true! £WATP”

Celtic, meanwhile, also bolstered their options over the weekend. Brendan Rodgers took Scotland international Oliver Burke to Celtic Park on a loan deal from West Brom for the remainder of the season, while it was reported yesterday that Timothy Weah was on his way from Paris Saint Germain in a similar arrangement.

Burke (21) signed for Albion on a five-year deal from RB Leipzig for a reported £15million fee in 2017 but has not started a league match for the Baggies this season, making three appearances off the bench.

Subject to passing a medical, he will join up with Rodgers’s squad this week for their winter training camp in Dubai.

Albion’s sporting and technical director Luke Dowling told the club’s official website: “To be fair to Oli, there have been a lot of changes at the club since his arrival which have not helped him.

“The opportunity to join a club of Celtic’s stature on loan was felt by everyone to be the best pathway to help develop his career.

“Oli liked what Celtic had to offer and he has obviously got the opportunity to play on a great stage which should be of benefit to him.

“I would stress that there is no ‘option to buy’ clause at the end of the loan and he will be back with us at the end of the season.

“We will be keeping a close eye on his progress and still believe that in Oli we have a talented player who we are anxious to develop and progress.”

 

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