Van Bronckhorst tipped to replace Gerrard
Bookies favourite: Giovanni Van Bronckhorst (pic: SNS Group)
Former Ibrox midfielder and Dutch international Giovanni Van Bronckhorst is emerging as favourite to replace Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager, with the club set to hold talks with him this weekend.
The Ibrox board is reported to have drawn up a short-list of three candidates, headed by the Dutchman.
One bookmaker stopped taking bets on the 46-year-old who also played for Arsenal and Barcelona and recently coached Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League through a disappointing campaign.
He was more successful in his previous job with Feyenoord where he won the Eredivisie in 2016-17, ending the club’s 18-year wait for a league title. He also won two Dutch Cups during a four-year spell in charge.
During a three-year spell with Rangers between 1998-2001, he helped the club win two Scottish titles, two Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup prior to joining Arsenal. He also earned 106 caps for the Dutch national team, captaining his country in the 2010 World Cup final defeat against Spain.
Other names linked with the Ibrox job include Swansea manager and former Rangers player Russell Martin, and fellow former players Gennaro Gattuso and Derek McInnes.
Current No. 2 Gary McAllister together with other backroom staff – Tommy Culshaw, first-team coach Michael Beale and head of performance Jordan Milsom – are likely to follow Gerrard to the West Midlands after he agreed to become Aston Villa’s new boss.
Steven Gerrard wrestled the Scottish title from Celtic (pic: SNS Group)
Former Chelsea and England international Frank Lampard has also been mentioned but he is thought to be heading to Norwich City.
Gerrard has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal to replace Dean Smith who left Aston Villa last week after a run of five league defeats.
Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, as well as chief executive Christian Purslow, previously managing director at Liverpool, have been impressed by the job Gerrard did at Ibrox, his first in management.
He steered them to their first league title in a decade – the club’s 55th – ending Celtic’s bid for ten-in-a-row, and completing the Premiership season unbeaten.
Gerrard, 41, was under contract at Ibrox until 2024 and a compensation package said to be £4.5 million was agreed with the Scottish champions.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club,” he said.
“Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.”
Rangers chairman, Douglas Park, commented: “I would firstly like to put on record my thanks to Steven for his outstanding efforts over the last three-and-a-half years at Rangers.
“He has provided us all with some unforgettable moments, not least his delivery of the Scottish Premiership title back to Ibrox last season having not lost a match in the entire league campaign.
“In European competition, he has restored the good name and credibility of our club on the continent and leaves us in a very healthy position on the pitch.”
Rangers, four points clear of Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership, return to action after the international break with a Scottish League Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden Park on Sunday, 21 November.
Gerrard’s move was questioned by those who thought he may not survive the impatience at an English premier league club if he fails to deliver trophies which have been in short supply at Villa Park.
However, he is thought to consider it a stepping stone to a return to Liverpool when Jurgen Klopp moves on. His Villa team will face the 2020 champions at Anfield on 11 December.