Millwall manager Gary Rowett is delighted to bring an end to speculation linking the ‘immense’ Jake Cooper with a move to Scottish Premiership giants Rangers. 

After a difficult start to the new season – dissent growing towards Rowett’s functional but far from thrilling approach as the results and the goals dry up – speculation linking some of Millwall’s star players with a move away heading into the final week of the window only served to add another dark cloud to an already stormy sky. 

So news that Jake Cooper has put an end to those Rangers links while signing a new contract – before dragging Millwall to a much-needed 1-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday – felt like a ray of warming sunlight piercing through the gloom. 

Jake Cooper Millwall linked with Rangers
Photo by Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Jake Cooper will not be signing for Rangers

“I thought he was immense (against Stoke). I think, whilst players don’t think it does, I think (contract talks and speculation) does detract a little bit from their performances. It does detract a little bit from their focus. I think it’s impossible not to,” Rowett tells the Southwark News. 

“There’s been a lot of speculation this transfer window on the likes of Zian (Flemming). The likes of Coops. And, of course, you can’t stop that. You can’t stop three, four stories, however true they are or not. You can’t stop it. So it’s nice to put that to bed.

“I think it was really important that one of the big players for us – in more ways than one – but a big player for us is now completely focused and hasn’t got anything else to think about other than putting big performances in.”

According to reports, Rangers had renewed their interest in Cooper. The 6ft 6ins centre-half was a target during Mick Beale’s first spell at Ibrox; Rangers submitting a £3 million bid when their current head coach was working as an assistant to Steven Gerrard back in 2018. 

Beale has spoken openly about his desire to bring in a centre-half before the window shuts. But with Cooper now off the table, Jonathan Panzo feeling unlikely and links with Zak Vyner and Harry Souttar played down, nothing feels particularly imminent at the present moment. 

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