Frank McParland a key signing for Rangers - Mark Warburton

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland
Rangers assistant manager David Weir, head of recruitment Frank McParland and manager Mark Warburton
Rangers assistant manager David Weir, head of recruitment Frank McParland and manager Mark Warburton agree about the type of player they want to bring to Ibrox

Mark Warburton has described Rangers' new head of recruitment Frank McParland as one of the club's "biggest signings" since he took over as manager.

The pair worked together at Brentford, where McParland was sporting director, and he will now oversee first-team and youth recruitment at Ibrox.

Warburton remains confident that he will be able to sign players in January despite the need for shareholder loans.

The target remains to add "one or two" to the squad who can "add value".

Rangers signed 11 players last summer, mostly from the lower leagues in England and mostly players who Warburton had worked with or was aware of from his time as an academy manager at Watford, then sporting director and then head coach at Brentford.

As a legacy of years of cost-cutting at Rangers, the club has no scouting network and part of McParland's remit is to build one up. His immediate focus is on identifying signing targets for January and Warburton believes that the Ibrox board will continue to support his recruitment strategy.

"It was very important for us to get the right person, with the right knowledge and background, knowing what Davie and I want from the players, the profile we want. There's no better person than Frank," Warburton said.

Frank McParland
Mark Warburton worked with Frank McParland at Brentford

"Frank knows exactly what we want, we like young, hungry players, players who have development potential and add character and value on and off the pitch. If we're not sure, we won't commit.

Adding value

"It's not always about how much you spend, it's how you utilise your budget. We showed at the previous club that there are players out there who can add value and develop to quickly become an asset.

"Every player we've gone for so far we've secured and we're working closely with the board and the owner, we talk daily with Stewart [Robertson, the managing director] and Andrew [Dickson, the finance director], we update, going through our targets and what we think the cost will be.

"We're in good shape, I've got no concerns and I'm sure we'll get the players we're looking for. We'll put forward players we think can add value.

"You can buy a player for £1m and he quickly becomes £5m, you can buy a player for £850,000 and two years later he's at £550,000. It's about trusting your judgement and getting your eye right and getting the right level of value for the club.

"If it's near seven figures and we think it's the right value for the club, we'll put it to the board. Part of your job is to know the market.

"My strength is that I've always known the younger market down south with my academy background. Frank's background is extensive, he knows the first-team market and he's got extensive contacts in Europe. It's about looking at players, judging them and get the player profiles right."

McParland, who was previously academy director at Liverpool, has known Warburton for 10 years. It was the draw of renewing that working relationship that persuaded McParland to leave his role as sporting director at Burnley to move to Ibrox.

Warburton has been a 'visionary'

"When I was at Liverpool, Mark was academy director at Watford and we invited them up for a tournament," McParland said.

"I always remember going into the changing room at the end of a game they played on the first-team pitch and I said, 'Warbs, that is the best performance I've ever seen on that pitch'. And he still plays football the same. I love it. He's been a visionary in what he wanted to do. David is on the same wavelength and I'm a help on that as well. It's a shared belief.

"For this window I'm going to concentrate on bringing one or two players in and then we'll look at the scouting network. The first place we should be looking is [Scotland].

"Financially it's a little bit easier than down south. So it's massive that we not only look here for the first-team but also the academy, we want to produce the best players for our club. The more players we have from Scotland, the better.

"The one thing that we like to do, and which we did at Brentford, is build the club up from the bottom. Mark, David [Weir, the assistant manager] and I want players to come through the academy and play for Rangers.

"We have to do our job properly. It depends what finances are available. Some clubs down south spend £1m on their scouting network and that's easier, you get better people and better coverage, you can watch more players.

"Ours isn't going to be £1m a year, but we will bring in the best people we can. I'm not that bothered about having a massive scouting network, I'm about having good people. If I can get two or three really good people in who we trust, I'd be happy with that."