Giovanni van Bronckhorst prepares to open talks with Rangers over job

Giovanni van Bronckhorst the leading candidate to replace Steven Gerrard at Rangers as he prepares to open talks with the club… having previously described the possibility of managing Ibrox giants as ‘a huge honour’

  • Steven Gerrard left Rangers on Thursday morning to take over at Aston Villa
  • The reigning Scottish champions are now searching for their next manager
  • Giovanni van Bronckhorst is the favourite to replace the Liverpool legend
  • He previously played for the club and has enjoyed huge success in Holland 

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is leading the race to replace Steven Gerrard as Rangers manager.

Gerrard on Thursday appealed for understanding from Ibrox supporters after completing his move to Aston Villa, where he has signed a contract until the summer of 2024.

Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson will head up the process of filling the vacancy left by the end of Gerrard’s three-and-a-half year tenure, with Van Bronckhorst a prominent name on the shortlist being compiled.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is the leading candidate to take over from Steven Gerrard 

Gerrard departed Ibrox for Aston Villa after a three-and-a-half year stay in Glasgow

A player at Ibrox between 1998 and 2001, the former Holland midfielder is interested in taking on the role as he seeks a new challenge. A spell with Chinese club Guangzhou was cut short last year due to family reasons.

Rangers are expected to speak with a number of candidates as they seek to move as quickly as they can in the coming days.

Van Bronckhorst’s title-winning credentials with Feyenoord carry an obvious appeal, as does his knowledge of the club and popularity among supporters. The 46-year-old has previously described the possibility of managing Rangers as a ‘huge honour’ and he is now prepared to open negotiations.

Several other high-profile figures would be willing to hold talks over succeeding Gerrard, including Rino Gattuso and John Terry. Frank Lampard could also enter the equation if his ongoing discussions with with Norwich City do not end successfully. Derek McInnes and ex-Granada manager Diego Martinez are among further names linked. 

Gerrard departs Rangers having won them their 55th Scottish league title, ending Celtic’s run

On Thursday, SkyBet even suspended betting on Van Bronckhorst being the next Gers boss

Gerrard’s exit was confirmed at 10am on Thursday through statements from Rangers and Villa. Two hours later, the 41-year-old former England captain posted a personal message to fans left reeling by his decision to head south midway through a season.

Writing on his Instagram account, Gerrard reflected on last term’s title triumph, saying: ‘I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone associated with Glasgow Rangers, especially the fans, for the love and support you’ve all shown me during my time in Scotland.

‘Winning ‘55’ will always hold a special place in my heart — each and every one of you played a part in that and, believe me, there will be many more to come.

‘I hope in time you can understand and accept my decision to move on but I honestly fell in love with the club and will always follow the team. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.’

Rangers face a League Cup semi-final against Hibernian a week on Sunday, with a vital Europa League match against Sparta Prague following four days later.

With backroom team Gary McAllister, Michael Beale, Tom Culshaw and Jordan Milsom all heading to Villa with Gerrard, the Ibrox outfit are facing massive upheaval at a critical juncture in their campaign.

Despite the challenge now in front of the club’s board, Rangers chairman Douglas Park expressed warm gratitude to Gerrard for his work since the summer of 2018.

‘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,’ said Park.

Gary McAllister (right) and the rest of Gerrard’s backroom team are following him to Villa Park

‘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.’

Former director of football Mark Allen spearheaded the bid to land Gerrard but departed the club in 2019. He was succeeded by Wilson, who praised Gerrard’s ‘dedication and professionalism’ in transforming Rangers’ fortunes.

‘Steven and his backroom staff have ensured that the club is undoubtedly in a better place today than it was three-and-a-half years ago,’ said Wilson.

‘I joined Steven on that journey just over two years ago and from the first day we met, I have enjoyed all aspects of our partnership.

‘We have shared a desire to move Rangers forward, to modernise our infrastructure and to make the club win again.

John Terry, pictured during his coaching spell at Villa earlier this year, is another candidate

‘There have been so many areas that we have moved forward, and there is still so much to be done, but I can’t stress enough how important it has been to have with us a first-team manager who shared a drive and desire to set standards and move the whole football operation forward.’

The Rangers players had been told to expect an announcement yesterday morning. Later in the day, captain James Tavernier posted a message on social media.

‘I’d like to thank the gaffer, Gary McAllister, Michael Beale, Tom Culshaw, Jordon Milsom and (analyst) Scott Mason for everything they have done for me personally, for my family, my team and our club,’ he said.

‘We achieved so much together. We as a team have grown. We demanded more from one another, but most importantly we’ve developed into better players and better people.

Gerrard’s new salary at Villa is reportedly around £5m, an increase on his wage at Rangers

‘The club is in a better place. Of that I have no doubt. The cherished moments will be forever special. Bringing home 55.

‘Now we as a team will be fully focused on the next chapter that’s to come.’

Gerrard’s new salary is reportedly around the £5million mark and he can expect significant backing from Villa’s billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens in the January transfer window.

‘In my conversations with Nassef, Wes and the rest of the board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims,’ said Gerrard.

‘Aston Villa is a club with a rich history and tradition in English football and I am immensely proud to become its new head coach.

‘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.’

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