DANIEL Cousin is expected to fly into Scotland today after agreeing to join Rangers for the rest of the season.
Personal terms were agreed last night to land the 35-year-old as a free agent on around £7500-per-week. International clearance papers may not be completed in time for him to make his second Rangers debut against Dunfermline Athletic tomorrow but the Gabon internationalist's arrival is a major boost for manager Ally McCoist, especially while he is currently without injured forwards Steven Naismith and Kyle Lafferty.
Birmingham City were also interested in Cousin, who helped Gabon reach the quarter-finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations, but the player wanted to come back to Ibrox. "I am only coming back because it is Ally and this club," said Cousin. "It is not about the money, I am coming for football reasons. When a friend asks you to come and help that's what you do."
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McCoist told Cousin that he could be the goalscorer who kept Rangers in the hunt for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title. The Ibrox club had been awaiting confirmation from the Gabon FA, Cousin's home association, that he was a free agent before the end of the January transfer window and could therefore be signed for the remainder of this season. That confirmation came yesterday. Cousin left Ibrox almost four years ago and most recently played for little FC Sapins in Gabon. But his fitness and play impressed McCoist when he watched some of Gabon's African Cup of Nations matches.
McCoist had urged owner Craig Whyte to release money to pay the wages for one free transfer and the man he wanted most was Cousin, who left Rangers for £3 million when he joined Hull in September, 2008.
The pair had a lengthy telephone conversation and by the end of it McCoist was upbeat. "Looking at this from his point of view it would be a great chance for him to play at a big club he knows, to score goals, and maintain a serious championship challenge. With a bit of luck he could help us retain a title. I didn't plead with him. I asked if he'd like to come and he obviously said yes.
"I had a good chat with him the other day. He's got a one-year old child now and we talked about all aspects of the move, but he was certainly keen to come."
McCoist's priority was to add a big, physical forward to the Rangers attack who could fill the gap created by Nikica Jelavic's sale to Everton. "Anyone who was at the Dundee United game at the weekend would see we didn't pose anything like a strong enough threat in the forward area," said McCoist. "You need to have a focal point up front. You need a striker who can be a physical presence and cause one or two problems. In that respect I think Daniel would certainly be a massive benefit to us.
"He is obviously older now but I watched his performances in the African Nations Cup. I take people's point about his age, but from what I saw of him in those particular games he would certainly do a job for us.
"I would argue that we have 13 big games now [ie all their remaining league fixtures]. Every game between now and the end of the season is massive for us. Without being disrespectful to David Healy I also feel that he would benefit from linking up with someone like Daniel. David's not physically as strong as Nikica or Daniel."