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St Mirren 12:30 Rangers

Gers monitor Messi

By Mark Buckingham.   Last Updated: 08/07/05 10:18am

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Rangers are hoping to sign Argentinian prodigy Leo Messi on loan from Barcelona.

Messi was the star of the recent Fifa World Youth Championship in Holland as he helped Argentina beat Nigeria in the final.

The teenager is tipped for greatness but reports suggest that, before he makes his name at Camp Nou, he will gain experience in Glasgow with Rangers.

Speculation suggests that Rangers boss Alex McLeish is aiming to strike a deal to take Messi to Ibrox on a season-long loan.

The capture of such a mercurial young talent would be a major coup for The Gers but it remains to be seen if McLeish can tempt the attacker to the SPL.

He was recently rewarded for his progress at Barcelona with a new contract which ties him to the club until 2010, while his buy-out clause stands at a mind-boggling ‚é¼150 million.

Messi has also been promoted to the Barca first team from the B team, while the club's sporting director Txiki Beguiristain has ruled out a move for the 18-year-old.

Beguiristain feels the Argentine ace will have a role to play at Camp Nou next season after making his debut last term.

Coach Frank Rijkaard is currently assessing how much involvement Messi will play in the new campaign and could sanction a switch to Rangers if it will benefit his career.

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