Rangers today confirmed they had received ''tentative enquiries'' regarding the sale of the club but had yet to receive a formal offer. The Glasgow giants issued a statement in which they also insisted they would not be forced to sell any players in the January transfer window. But there was an absence of any commitment to invest money in improving a squad which has not seen a single player bought for more than a year.
Today's announcement came less than 24 hours after manager Walter Smith went public with his concerns that Rangers' spending had been overseen by HBOS bank - part of the Lloyds Banking Group - since Sir David Murray stepped down as chairman in August. The Ibrox club said on their official website: ''For the avoidance of doubt, and due to recent media speculation, the club can confirm that while there have been tentative enquiries regarding the sale of the club, there are none that have realised an offer.
''As stated by Sir David Murray, it is not necessarily about price, but the new owner having the capability to take the club forward that remains essential. It is important to highlight the statement issued by Lloyds Banking Group to the press on Saturday evening, that 'Lloyds Banking Group recognises the importance of Rangers Football Club to its supporters, shareholders and the wider football industry in Scotland. The bank continues to be very supportive of both the club and the board as they manage the business through the more difficult economic conditions currently prevailing'. As such, there is no need for the club to sell assets during the January transfer window.''
Speaking after yesterday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Hibernian, Smith said: ''David Murray has stepped down and they have placed a representative of the bank (Donald Muir) on the board. It's obviously not a good situation - it's not a situation that anybody wants the club to be in. It's been up for sale for a while. It's not the bank's fault, if the bank has to take over in these circumstances they are not going to invest in a football club, are they?
''I think we have been fairly honest about the situation. The players at the club have been up for sale since January and we haven't bought a player for what will be 18 months in this transfer window." He added: ''The quicker that gets cleared up, the better it will be for Rangers."