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Next Rangers Manager: Who could replace Steven Gerrard?

Steven Gerrard_1

Steven Gerrard has moved into the red-hot 1/25 favourite to become the new Aston Villa manager following reports that the Rangers boss is interested in replacing Dean Smith, with an approach imminent. The compensation package is believed to be around the £2m to £3m mark.

At the time of writing Gerrard remains at Rangers, however while it's common to see numerous twists-and-turns in next manager markets it is looking increasingly likely that he’ll make the move south of the border, meaning a vacancy will subsequently open up at Ibrox.

Every manager wants to win trophies and at the Gers you have an excellent chance of winning the league and domestic cups, while the job also currently offers Europa League football.

There’s sure to be widespread interest in the post should it become available, but who will be the main contenders? We take a look at the club’s options below...

(You can see the latest results of our next Rangers manager poll right here)

The Internal Appointment

These two names are obviously dependent on whether one or both of them follow Gerrard down to Villa Park.

Currently an assistant to Gerrard, Gary McAllister could be an option as interim manager. He’s not managed outright since a stint at Leeds in 2008, which followed an 18-month spell at Coventry. He’s since held assistant posts at Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Liverpool, and now the Gers. While he’s unlikely to be the long-term successor, he could be a steady hand before another face comes in.

Michael Beale has proved to be an outstanding coach, not only at Rangers whom he’s played a pivotal role in their revitalisation and subsequent title success, but south of the border in England at Liverpool and Chelsea in various youth team and academy roles. He’s also tested himself abroad in Brazil as an assistant to Rogerio at Sao Paulo.

"It would take me 15 to 20 years to get as good as Michael Beale as an on pitch coach, to deliver sessions on a daily basis, so I let Mick be Mick Beale because he's the expert and has the skillset,” Gerrard told The Robbie Fowler Podcast earlier this year.

Transitioning from coach to outright manager can be very hit or miss, but Beale certainly has the potential and popularity to thrive should he wish to make the step up. This could initially be in the form of a short-term deal through to the end of the season.

Both Daniel Farke and Dean Smith are now available.
Both Daniel Farke and Dean Smith are now available.

Newly available options

Dean Smith has been a success everywhere he’s managed. He turned first club Walsall into serious promotion candidates on a low budget, secured three top-10 Championship finishes with Brentford, then led boyhood club Aston Villa into the Premier League; saved them from relegation; then enjoyed a very decent second top-flight season in which they finished 11th. Villa struggled for form during the opening few months of the current campaign, yet it was still a surprise that the club opted to change direction. He deserved more time.

Smith has already been linked with a swift return with Norwich, but the chance to win silverware in Scotland with Rangers will surely appeal.

Speaking of Norwich, Daniel Farke played some absolutely sumptuous football during his tenure, delivering two Championship titles at Carrow Road. Unfortunately, the Premier League and its incredibly high standards, increased expectations, and scorching cauldron of pressure proved to be a real obstacle for the German, who won only six of his 48 top-flight matches. A change of scenery in a different league could now be on the cards following his exit as he bids to rediscover his managerial mojo.

Meanwhile, Frank Lampard may have emerged as the bookies' favourite for the Norwich job, but could a potential opening at Rangers turn his head?

Unlike Gerrard at the time of his appointment, Lampard has managerial experience on his CV. He led Derby into the Championship play-offs then took Chelsea to 4th; blooding some exciting homegrown talents in the process. He'd be a high-profile appointment, although there may be question marks over his defensive ability, given Chelsea's fragility towards the end of his 18-month tenure.

John Terry may also be on the club's radar as he seeks his first spell in the dugout.

Frank Lampard is currently the favourite for the Norwich job
Frank Lampard is currently the favourite for the Norwich job

Managers ready and available

Lucien Favre and Paulo Fonseca have attracted plenty of Premier League interest in the last six months and in a parallel universe they could currently be managing Crystal Palace and Tottenham. The Premier League’s loss could soon be the Scottish Premiership’s gain, with Favre and Fonseca likely to be in the running for Rangers.

Former Roma and Porto boss Fonseca employs an attractive brand of football, and enjoyed a dominant spell in Ukraine at Shakhtar Donetsk where he won three league and cup doubles.

Ex-Dortmund manager Favre was linked to Celtic earlier this year, but in the end nothing came to fruition. He offers plenty of experience from spells in Germany, France, and his homeland and is now believed be keen to return to the dugout.

Elsewhere, Diego Martinez did an incredible job in Spain at Granada, who were promoted to La Liga, finished 7th, and reached the Europa League quarter-finals and the Copa del Rey semi-finals during his transformative tenure.

Lucien Favre has been linked to multiple Premier League clubs
Lucien Favre has been linked to multiple Premier League clubs

The Former Gers Players

Giovanni van Bronckhorst helped Rangers win a treble and a double during his two-and-a-half-seasons at Ibrox, before going on to lift the Premier League and FA Cup with Arsenal, followed by two league titles and the Champions League at Barcelona.

He ventured into management with former club Feyenoord in the summer of 2015. He lifted the KNVB Cup in his first season, ended the club’s 18-year wait for another Eredivisie title in his second, then bagged another KNVB Cup in his third. Plus a couple of Johan Cruyff Shields.

Perhaps surprisingly he then ventured off to the Chinese Super League to manage Guangzhou R&F, but left after a year.

As for his style of play, he previously said: “I like the dynamic: 4-3-3 and being able to switch. It’s about winning the match. That can be done in many ways: with attacking football, with a good block. Every opponent is different. Preparing a team at a match and the dynamics in a match itself, I think that is the great thing about being a trainer.”

The Dutchman has been out-of-work for nearly a year, but could he soon be tempted by the Gers?

Elsewhere, Gennaro Gattuso and Frank de Boer are both currently available, while we can't rule out Everton assistant Duncan Ferguson!

Homegrown Options

There’s a chance Rangers could take a scout around their own league for a new manager.

Jack Ross led Hibernian to their best finish in 16 years last season (3rd) and the Scottish Cup final, he's worked in a high-pressure environment at Sunderland, and previously led St Mirren to the Scottish Championship title. Managing Rangers would be a big step up, but Ross could find himself in the conversation.

Robbie Neilson has gone from strength to strength since returning to Hearts in the summer of 2020, leading The Jam Tarts to the Scottish Championship title, while they’re currently 3rd in the top-flight after an excellent start. They’ve lost just one of their opening 13 games, meaning they sit just two points off Celtic and a further four off Rangers.

Callum Davidson delivered St Johnstone a stunning domestic cup double last season. He’s certainly an exciting prospect but has only been managing for just over a year.

Fellow Scot Alex Neil previously led Hamilton into the Scottish Premiership, then took Norwich into the Premier League, followed by four years at Preston. Currently out-of-work, he's made it clear that he's now eager to jump back into management. 

“I don’t know, I think if Rangers or Celtic come knocking it’s something you would certainly have to sit, talk about and consider,” Neil said earlier this year when asked if he would consider either Old Firm club. “There’s no doubts about that, with the magnitude of the clubs."

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