THE Three Bears consortium could make "significant" headway in their bid for power while also facing questions over claims that it forms part of a concert party to take over Rangers in what promises to be a crucial week for the club.

This will take place against a backdrop of a financial crisis at the club that was described last night by "deadly serious" by an informed source, raising fears that a cash meltdown is imminent. It also comes after reports of a bid by Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, but this is thought to have been conditional on a share issue and the American may have to wait to have any involvement in the club.

The Rangers saga garnered momentum last week when George Letham, George Taylor and Douglas Park bought 16% of the club and then Dave King, the South African businessman, snapped up a 15% holding.

The Panel of Takeovers and Mergers is almost certain to investigate to judge if the Three Bears consortium and King acted independently. It is believed a Rangers shareholder has already alerted the panel to the development but anyone can contact the financial body over concerns.

The shares arithmetic at Rangers now has the Three Bears at 19% (their stake plus Taylor's individual holding) and King with 15%.

Both groups maintain they are not working together but if they are found to be a concert party then they could face sanctions including fines and a referral to the Financial Conduct Authority that has powers to bar people from being directors but also to instruct other professionals - such as lawyers or accountants - not to work with them.

If both King and the Three Bears found common cause they would comprise a clear and present danger to the incumbents on the Rangers board and to Mike Ashley the Newcastle United owner, who has a strong power base at Ibrox.

Ashley owns 9% of the club and has formed an alliance with the Easdale brothers who hold voting rights for 26% of shares.

A full-blown takeover battle would not only consume time but money. Both are in short supply as the club needs investment now.