Rangers have secured the long-term future of Fernando Ricksen after the Dutch midfielder signed a new four-year deal.

Ricksen was out of contract in the summer and could have agreed pre-contract terms with any club he chose.

However Rangers have now tied down the 28-year-old until 2009 after they rebuffed an approach from Premiership side Everton in the transfer window.

The player himself recently rejected a deal from Dutch club Feyenoord, and had previously intimated that the signing of Barry Ferguson would have a huge bearing on whether he remained at Ibrox. Ricksen joined Rangers from AZ Alkmaar for £3.75 million in 2000 and has since featured over 200 times for the side.

“I am delighted to have signed an extension to my contract,” Ricksen told the club’s official website.

“The fact that the club did not accept a good offer for me in January showed their commitment to me as a player – and now I want to show my commitment to Rangers in return. That is why I have signed this deal.

“Barry Ferguson coming back to the club also helped me to make up my mind and I believe we have a real opportunity to be successful.

“I am looking forward to being part of that success in the years to come.”

Rangers boss Alex McLeish expressed his delight at retaining the midfielder, and stated that the player was a key figure at the title-challenging club.

“Everyone here is delighted Fernando has signed an extension,” said McLeish.

“He is a great person to have around the club and, in the last eight months, has proved not just his skill and dedication but also his strength of character.

“Fernando is a leader on the pitch and in the dressing room and I am extremely pleased he has pledged his future to Rangers.”