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Rangers eye Colombian star Frank Castaneda as Alfredo Morelos attracts interest from Newcastle

© Xinhua/ShutterstockFrank Castaneda celebrates scoring for Sheriff Tiraspol against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League
Frank Castaneda celebrates scoring for Sheriff Tiraspol against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League

Rangers are considering bringing a new Colombian star IN, even as speculation rises Alfredo Morelos could be on his way OUT.

It is understood that the Light Blues are weighing up a January move for Colombian winger, Frank Castaneda.

His fellow countryman, striker Morelos, has been linked with a £20-million January move to Newcastle United.

Magpies’ manager Eddie Howe wants to bring in attacking reinforcements to boost his squad in their battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

With considerable funds available to him, thanks to the Saudi Arabian takeover, Howe is reported to have made the 25-year-old an “urgent target”.

A bid in the region of the fee mentioned would give new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst a serious decision to make.

Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring against Sparta Prague (Pic: Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

He has already lost Nathan Patterson to the English Premier League in this window, with the Scotland international full-back sold to Everton in a move that brought the club in £11.5m now, which could eventually rise to £16m with add-ons.

Rangers also remain braced for possible bids from Aston Villa and their former manager, Steven Gerrard, for the likes of Glen Kamara and Borna Barisic.

Cash coming in, though, inevitably allows the Dutchman more scope to bring new players in.

James Sands has already been recruited on an 18-month loan deal from New York City, with an option to buy on its conclusion.

A versatile player able to operate in several different positions, he offers immediate cover at right-back, should captain James Tavernier get injured.

A pre-contract offer has also been extended to Hearts and Scotland central defender John Souttar, whose deal at Tynecastle is up in the summer.

The 27-year-old Castaneda is available as a free agent, having reached the end of his contract with Sheriff Tiraspol.

The Moldovans pulled off one of the biggest-ever Champions League shocks when beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu four months ago.

Castenada, who joined Tiraspol following a successful spell in Slovakia, did not score, but started the game and played 78 minutes before being substituted.

He did find the net against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League qualifiers, however, and was prolific in the 2020-21 title success, hitting 28 goals.

That form has not been missed across Europe, with several other clubs across the Continent also showing an interest.

Frank Castaneda (Pic: Fabrizio Carabelli/LiveMedia/Shutterstock )

Italians Empoli and Salernitana, Samsunspor of Turkey, Sochi from Russia and Bundesliga outfit, Augsburg, are all alternative options for Castenada to heading to Ibrox.

The forward cannot fail, though, to have been impressed with the impact Morelos has had in Scotland.

Signed for just £1m from HJK Helsinki in 2017, it says it all that he is now being talked of as being worth 20 times that sum.

While he has often been a controversial figure in Light Blue over the last five years – and one of the biggest characters in the Scottish game – he has remained a prolific scorer.

The fact he is seen as a viable transfer target for Newcastle likewise speaks to the attractiveness of the Premiership as a pathway to the English Premier League.

Meanwhile, the prospect of the re-scheduled Old Firm game on February 2 having to be postponed again edged a little closer last night.

Celtic now have four Japanese players on their books, and the government in Tokyo have just agreed to allow all players from abroad into the country, on the condition that their domestic-based players will then isolate for 14 days.

That opens the door for Hoops quartet Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Yosuke Ideguchi and Reo Hatate to be named in the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against China in Saitama on January 27 and Saudi Arabia at the same venue on February 1.

However, only Kyogo was in the 23-man squad for the recent qualifiers against Vietnam and Oman, Hatate is uncapped, Maeda has played for his country just twice and, while Ideguchi has 15 caps, the last of those was three years ago.

So while Tom Rogic will be getting called up by Australia, the chances of Celtic having three men away on international duty when Rangers come calling, thus being able to trigger a SPFL mechanism to have the game postponed, seem remote.