Jelavic to play against Villa

Chances that Nikica Jelavic will sign with Scottish champs Glasgow Rangers are shrinking as Rapid Vienna President Rudolf Edlinger has announced the striker will perform against Aston Villa.Rapid face the Premiership side in the final UEFA Europa League qualification stage this Thursday and next week. Jelavic, 24, would be banned from playing in the UEFA Champions League group stage for Rangers if they sign him.Rapid kicked out Aston Villa in the same stage of the event last season. Jelavic scored the only goal in his team’s 1-0 first leg win and also netted in their 1-2 away defeat.Now Edlinger has made clear Jelavic will be part of Rapid’s line-ups against Villa.”We can’t sell such a key player shortly ahead of such crucial matches,” the former Social Democratic (SPÖ) finance minister said.Edlinger failed generally to rule out a sale during the current summer transfer window that closes on 31 August.Rangers reportedly offered almost five million Euros for the 24-year-old Croatian national team star who joined Rapid from Belgian side Zulte Waregem in 2008.Rangers executive manager Martin Bain claimed they had already agreed with Rapid about the transfer sum before the 32-time Austrian league champions pulled out of negotiations.Rapid, who finished the 2009/2010 season in third place, are expected to sign another striker if Jelavic leaves this month. Former Sturm Graz ace Klemen Lavric has been mentioned as a possible replacement for the Croat.Jelavic promised fully to focus on his upcoming challenges while playing for Rapid – but also made clear he hoped club bosses would let him leave if a decent offer came along, considering his goals in the past two years.