Rangers sign Almeria midfielder Juan Manuel Ortiz

Juan Manuel Ortiz has completed his transfer to Rangers from Spanish club Almeria on a three-year contract.

The Spanish midfielder becomes manager Ally McCoist's first new signing, a fee having been agreed by the clubs.

And the 29-year-old immediately appealed to countryman Carlos Cuellar to join him at Ibrox from Aston Villa.

"Carlos is a good player and I know Rangers have been interested in signing him again, so it would be good if that happened," Ortiz told Rangers' website.

Rangers have had discussions with Villa about taking Cuellar back to Ibrox, where he played during the 2007/08 season, but so far no agreement has been reached about a loan deal.

Ortiz played alongside Cuellar while the midfielder spent two years on loan to Osasuna from Atletico Madrid and says his compatriot helped sell him on a move to the Scottish champions.

"When the chance came up to come to Rangers, I spoke to Carlos about it and he only had good things to say.

"He told me the club is massive and that he was very, very happy here, so he told me it was a move I should make."

Ortiz, who arrived at Rangers' Murray Park training base on Monday, has spent four years at Almeria.

However, the Andalusian club's four-year spell in Spain's top-flight came to an end last season when they finished 20th and were relegated from La Liga.

Juan Manuel Ortiz with his Rangers shirt
Ortiz tried the Rangers shirt on for the first time at Glasgow Airport

He was a graduate of Atletico Madrid's youth system but spent loan spells with Osasuna and Poli Ejido before heading to Almeria.

While at Juegos Mediterraneos stadium, the player also known as Juanma not only played in midfield but on both flanks of defence, something that helped attract McCoist.

"I think the fact he can play a number of positions was a big thing," said the Rangers manager, who compared him to a versatile team-mate already at Ibrox.

"He will probably run Steven Whittaker close. He can play a few positions, he is quick and he has played a few games at the very top level."

McCoist was hopeful that Ortiz could emulate two recent previous Spanish players in Rangers' colours - Cuellar and striker Nacho Novo.

"I think Carlos said a few nice things about us to Juan, which was obviously a help in terms of the lad signing," added the manager.

"So if he is as successful as those two lads then that would be great."

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