Wolverhampton Wanderers were set to experience their second transfer disappointment of the summer on Tuesday as Burnley striker Kyle Lafferty looked likely to sign for Scottish Premier League side Rangers.
Wolves had looked like favourites to sign the Northern Ireland international after offering £2.5?million plus Stephen Elliott for the 20-year-old. Celtic were their main rivals for Lafferty’s signature and Rangers looked as though they had given up until they returned with a £3?million offer, with a £250,000 add on, plus striker Alan Gow. Lafferty underwent his medical at Ibrox on Tuesday.
Lafferty, a Rangers fan, had said he saw Wanderers as the best bet of achieving his dream of playing in the Premier League, but the Gers can offer him Champions League football, although he will face stiff opposition for a starting place as he is the third striker Rangers have signed this summer after also snapping up former Wolves striker Kenny Miller.
It is the second time in recent weeks that Wanderers have missed out on a transfer target after Derby County midfielder David Jones rejected personal terms after the Rams had accepted an offer from Wanderers.
One player who is committed to playing for Wolves is young midfielder Lewis Gobern, who missed the last campaign because of a succession of knee and ankle injuries.
The 23-year-old is now determined to make up for lost time and is aiming to be fit for the start of pre-season training.
He damaged ankle ligaments in the pre-season friendly at Grays Athletic, and was on the verge of a comeback shortly after Christmas when he began to suffer from a knee problem.
“The ankle seemed to take forever to heal and then, when it did, I travelled with the squad and was warming up on the pitch at Norwich City at Christmas when I began to get pain in my right knee,” he said.
“I had treatment which included injections but the knee was still very painful so I went to see a specialist in Nottingham. He decided that the best option was keyhole surgery which I had three weeks ago when they took away some scar tissue, and it seems to have done the trick because I’ve had no pain since.
“I’ve been coming into Compton Park every day to do some strengthening work on the leg to build it up. My first target is to be fit and ready for pre-season training when the lads get back in a couple of weeks.”
However, Gobern may have to go out on loan next season to regain his match fitness after such a lengthy spell out of the game, especially as Wanderers announced yesterday they were following the lead of Championship rivals Birmingham City and withdrawing from the Pontins Reserve League. The club will play behind closed door friendlies instead.
“As we will have at least 13 midweek fixtures throughout next season, we can pick and choose when to play reserve friendlies rather than being committed to reserve league fixtures,” manager Mick McCarthy said.