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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 5 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 17, 2008

Darcheville close to Valenciennes transfer

Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville is in advanced talks with Valenciennes regarding a move to the French top-flight strugglers in the January transfer window.

The 33-year-old visited VA's facilities and met club directors yesterday, with president Francis Decourriere hoping a deal can be struck soon.

''It would be a great reinforcement for us,'' Decourriere told La Voix du Nord newspaper.

''I have a lot of hope for this,'' added the VA chief, who admitted Darcheville was ''enthusiastic about the idea of signing'' for the northerners.

Valenciennes are languishing in Ligue 1's relegation zone after a miserable first half of the season.

They have scored just 14 goals in 18 matches, and are in desperate need of an experienced goalscorer up front.

The powerful Darcheville joined Rangers from Bordeaux in 2007, having previously played for Rennes, Nottingham Forest and Lorient.

Injuries have hampered him this season, but he scored 12 goals in 30 league appearances for the Glasgow side last term.

Meanwhile Barry Ferguson has vowed to ''shut up'' his critics by hitting top form for Rangers.

The club captain has come under fire for his displays since returning from five months out with a serious ankle injury. But the midfielder insists he can take the stick, claiming he has heard it all before.

''I'm always open for criticism if I'm not fully up to speed but I've said all along that it'll take me a few matches to catch up with the rest of the squad,'' said the 30-year-old, who has made nine appearances since recovering from surgery almost seven weeks ago.

''It has been frustrating for me knowing I've had to wait and be patient as I've tried to get to the level I should be at. Now I feel I'm getting towards it and that I'm coming out the other side. I'm a strong character and, in the weeks to come, I'll shut my critics up.''

He added in Rangers News: ''People perhaps don't realise how much being out for as long as I have holds you back when you start to return. You're well behind everybody and it's a really slow build-up when you take the first step towards the team again.

''For three months, I basically did nothing and, as a footballer, you lose a lot of fitness if you're only idle for a week or two. Missing pre-season leaves you at a major disadvantage and you can feel really left out because you're miles behind everyone else.

''It takes a long time to get your sharpness back and that has been the case with me over the first few games.''

This is not the first time Ferguson has come under scrutiny for his performances following serious injury.

''The thing is I've been 'finished' two or three times already, according to some people,'' he said.''Being told the same thing once more doesn't make any difference to me.

''I get asked how I cope with criticism a lot. Even my family and my closest friends quiz me on that one. But it's what I do on the park now that counts and I'll prove those people wrong, there's no doubt about that.

''It has taken a while to build up my sharpness but I know I don't have much more time because people have expectations. I'm the same, I've got high expectations of myself and I know I've not been at a level I should be at.

''Everybody's got their opinion. I heard these sort of things when I came back from my last ankle operation and, for my first month back in the team, some said I'd lost it. A couple of months later, I started to play the way I should have been and everything that had happened in the past was forgotten about.

''These things stick in my mind. I'm here to show that folk are wrong with what they've been saying and I'll do that, have no doubt. I'll make them eat their words. Hearing these things just makes me more determined. I get asked if it affects me but I just use what is said about me in a positive way.''

Ferguson knows Rangers fans will not mind a dip in his personal performances as long as the club are winning silverware.

Despite being out of Europe, they remain on course to retain the Co-operative Insurance Cup and are breathing down Celtic's neck in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

However, a defeat and draw during their last three games has cost them the chance to go top.

Ferguson said: ''It has been difficult both for me and the team as we've dropped a few silly points that we should really have won. It's up to us to make up for that. The manager can't wave a magic wand to fix things and the guys in the team have to get results that count.

''We've got good players here who know what being at Rangers is all about. I've got no doubt we can go on a run and get the championship back.''

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