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Aug 19, 2010

Rangers target Jelavic suspended by Rapid

Rapid Vienna striker Nikica Jelavic has informed the club he no longer wishes to play for them and has been suspended ahead of a potential move to Rangers.

• Rangers close on Weiss deal

Rapid President Rudolf Edlinger hit out at the player after he made the annoucement only hours before the team's Europa League qualifier against Aston Villa and claimed it was a ''shock''.

Edlinger told the Croatian Times: "Against our expectations, Nikica Jelavic informed us this morning that he does not want to perform for Rapid any more. This is a shock for the whole 'Rapid family'. Rapid is a club with a lot of passion and emotion.

"Someone making such a statement here is wrong since he hits fans and members in the face."

Rangers have offered around €5 million for a player who joined Vienna from Belgian side Zulte Waregem for less than €1 million two years ago and the offer is almost certain to be accepted now.

"We would not have allowed him to leave the club so shortly before a crucial match. But if someone says he doesn't want to play for Rapid, he may leave,'' Edlinger stressed. "We are deeply affected by those indecent statements. I think the Rapid supporters will understand our decision."

The striker had made it clear that he wants to move on but was worried that if he played against Aston Villa in the Europa League then he would then be cup-tied for Rangers' Champions League campaign, which would be the case if Vienna won the tie.

He said: "If the club is asking me to play against Villa, I'll play. But I can hardly concentrate on the match when, over the past few days, I was sold several times. My head is all mixed up."

Jelavic's agent, Velibor Momcilovic, told Rapid that the player does not want to play for the club again. "Nikica wants to go to Rangers right away. His heart is already in Glasgow," he said.

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