Rangers confident of finalising deal with Steven Gerrard to be next manager

Rangers are hoping to push through a deal for Steven Gerrard to become their next manager in the coming days.

Ibrox sources were increasingly confident of finalising a deal after the former Liverpool captain confirmed on Tuesday that he had held "positive" initial talks with the Glasgow club and would revisit them on Thursday.

Gerrard's former team-mate, Danny Murphy, had earlier reported that the 37-year-old was looking for firm assurances about the finances available to strengthen the team.

Graeme Murty lost his job on Tuesday, three days before his short-term contract was due to end, after his team lost nine goals in two games against Celtic in April.

Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson have been handed the reins for the final three matches of the Ladbrokes Premiership season as Rangers aim to leapfrog Aberdeen and secure second place.

They are level on points with Hibernian with only the top three guaranteed European football next season.

Scotland manager Alex McLeish - who won seven trophies in five and a half seasons at Ibrox - claims the country needs a strong Rangers.

Talking about Sunday's 5-0 win for Celtic, McLeish said: "Celtic were clearly the superior team, we have known that for quite a long time.

"I think the Scottish game is looking for a strong Rangers team. We need that. I'm sure Celtic would relish a good challenge.

"There's all sorts of talk about a new manager coming and I'm sure he will want to come mob-handed in terms of getting money to spend."

Gerrard's only coaching experience is with Liverpool Under-18s but McLeish is an example of someone who made an impact at an even earlier age.

The former Aberdeen defender led Motherwell to second place in the league in his first campaign as a player-manager in 1994-95. The club then slid down the table as McLeish discovered how crucial it was to recruit well.

Gerrard is said to be looking for cast-iron guarantees over the funds available, but Rangers have received loans totalling about £20million in recent seasons and a planned share issue is yet to materialise.

McLeish said: "My first season was with Motherwell and we were second behind Rangers. To think we could actually be above one of the Old Firm at the end of the season was quite astonishing and I thought: 'this manager lark is a doddle'.

"And then I found out later when we had to get new recruits, because we lost about seven or eight of that special team, that's when you realise how important recruitment is."

- PA

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