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Advocaat - "Ill sign Barry"

I'll sign Barry: Advocaat insists he’d take Rangers skipper to Russia

By Peter Jardine

Last updated at 2:12 AM on 24th March 2009

Dick Advocaat is ready to offer Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson an escape route out of Ibrox and a final career pay day in Russia.

The Zenit St Petersburg boss, and former Rangers manager, has confirmed to Sportsmail he remains a huge admirer of the 31-year-old midfielder who will skipper George Burley’s side in the World Cup double-header against Holland and Iceland.

Advocaat, who gave Ferguson the Ibrox armband at the tender age of 22, is losing his star player, Ukrainian international Anatoliy Tymoschuk, to Bayern Munich on a free transfer in July, following Andrey Arshavin’s departure to Arsenal.

Dick Advocaat and Barry Ferguson

Old pals act: Dick Advocaat and Barry Ferguson during their time together at Rangers.

And the former Holland boss, who tried to sign Ferguson during the midfielder’s turbulent run-in with the then Rangers manager Paul le Guen in January 2007, could look to him again as a replacement.

With Ferguson facing a pay cut at the cash-strapped Ibrox club this summer, and already copping flak from disgruntled supporters, Advocaat’s words will not be easily

dismissed.

‘I am sure everyone in Scotland knows by now what I think of Barry Ferguson - he’s still a top player,’ said Advocaat.

‘Maybe he needs a fresh challenge elsewhere to give him new motivation. If he has been getting criticism in Scotland, then maybe he he has been at Rangers too long.

‘If I think I have a place for him here at St Petersburg, then he is the first one I would try to sign.’

Dick Advocaat

Zenit St Petersburg coach Dick Advocaat remains an admirer of Barry Ferguson

Ferguson’s £25,000-per-week contract will have only 12 months to run when the SPL title race is concluded. It is expected he will be offered a significant pay cut by the

club should he wish to sign an extension running into his mid-30s.

Zenit could easily match his current wages and a couple of years in Russia would bank Ferguson at least £2million.

He has already left Rangers once, when he moved to Blackburn Rovers, and, although he likes family life in Scotland, his career is becoming increasingly marred by personal criticism as Walter Smith’s side remain in Celtic’s shadow.

Advocaat added: ‘We are losing Tymoschuk in a couple of months, when he signs for Bayern Munich. I’ve brought in Russian international Igor Semshov to try to plug the gap.

‘But if it does not work out well for him and for us, then Barry would be one I would think about, definitely.

'I have always believed he has the ability to play wherever he wants.’

Barry Ferguson

Ferguson has left Rangers before, when he joined Blackburn

Zenit opened the new Russian League campaign with a draw, followed by a 2-1 victory over Saturn on Sunday.

Advocaat, who coached Holland to their 6-0 Amsterdam success over Scotland in November 2003 in the Euro 2004 play-off, will watch this weekend’s showdown between his two favourite countries on TV - with Ferguson under particular scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Rangers reserve Andrew Little has been called into the full Northern Ireland squad - before he has even kicked a ball for the Ibrox first team.

The highly-rated 19-year-old , who can play in defence or attack, has been called up by manager Nigel Worthington for Northern Ireland’s World Cup double-header against Poland and Slovenia.

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I think for Barry to rejoin Advocaat in Russia would be a great move for everyone concerned..

Barry would get a final pay day and go and play with a manager who can get the best from him (if its still in him). He would be free of the goldfish bowl that he is in right now, the pressure would be off for him to play out his final years.

For Rangers, we would get a fee of some sort, we would get him off the wage bill, we would eliminate the ridiculous amount of influence he has at the club and let Thompson and Davis be the future of our midfield. He can walk away with his head held high-ish. (comparatively)

The alternative is that he sees out his final year of contract and is offered a reduced deal to stay which he may take up. I believe if he stays then any chance of being remembered fondly will be lost. Barry Ferguson has not performed for us for a long long time and with each average performance the fans lose more and more respect for him. He only has bleakness in his future at Rangers.

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Some chance of that, Fergies a homelover, not exactly round the corner is it.

Well perhaps, and maybe its wishful thinking but, he will be taking a big cut to stay so monetarily it will make a lot of sense and it is only for two seasons of summer football, he will get his winters at home :-)... plus its only a 6 hour journey from Glasgow to St Petersburg via london.... not exactly ends of the earth

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Wee Barry's supposedly lost a fair few bob on business ventures, perhaps he'll be lured by the dough on offer.

Exactly what I was about to post.

However, our resident Ukranian hasn't heard a peep about the rumours, so I'll take it with a pinch of salt.

Would be a brilliant move for all concerned.

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Guest therabbitt
We are losing Tymoschuk in a couple of months, when he signs for Bayern Munich. I’ve brought in Russian international Igor Semshov to try to plug the gap. But if it does not work out well for him and for us, then Barry would be one I would think about, definitely.

Sounds very much like, "maybes aye, maybes naw" to me...

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