Rangers last night finalized a £4m deal for Rapid Vienna striker Nikica Jelavic, and in doing so, wrapped up their business for the summer, according to manager Walter Smith.
The Scottish champions had been after the Croatian goal-getter for some time, but the deal was only completed yesterday, as the 25-year-old had his medical and agreed a four-year deal. Jelavic still needs to be granted a work permit, but as all six of his caps for Croatia have come in the last 10 months, that would appear to be a formality. If the work permit is indeed granted, Jelavic will become Rangers’ most expensive signing since their purchase of current Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta from Barcelona in 2002.
Jelavic is Rangers’ third signing of the week and of the summer. Earlier in the week, the club completed a 1.5m deal for Stoke City striker James Beattie, and on Thursday, a season-long loan deal for highly-rated young Manchester City winger Vladimir Weiss was wrapped up.
According to Smith, it’s likely their last business of the summer. “We’ve managed to bring in three players for the first time in a couple of seasons and we are delighted with that aspect.”
“We can’t stretch it any further than we have done at the present moment.”
Jelavic scored 17 league goals in 33 appearances and 28 in 48 appearances in all competitions last season, including both of Rapid‘s goals in their Europa League playoff round triumph over Aston Villa and a brace in the group stage against Celtic. He started this season with a goal in three league appearances and four goals in four Europa League qualifiers, though he didn’t take part in Rapid’s 1-1 draw against Villa in the first leg of their playoff round tie on Thursday. And though there is some concern that Jelavic could be cup-tied if Rapid repeat the feat against Villa, but a UEFA source has reportedly said that Jelavic won’t be cup-tied even if Rapid go through.