Steven Gerrard looking for new Rangers defenders as Bruno Alves departs

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard admits he is still on the hunt for extra cover at the back after confirming Bruno Alves is on his way out of Ibrox.

The Portugal international has agreed to rescind the final 12 months of his deal after clinching a move to Serie A club Parma.

That leaves new signings Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic as the front-runners to start when Rangers kick off their Europa League campaign at home to FK Shkupi on Thursday night.

But while the former Liverpool and England boss refused to discuss the £3million bid Press Association Sport understands he has submitted for Millwall centre-back Jake Cooper, he did admit strengthening the centre of his defence is his number-one priority.

"Bruno's contract is being terminated mutually," said Gerrard. "That's happening today I believe so both parties are really happy and we both move on.

He's about to be unveiled at Parma and we wish him all the best. Yes, there are areas I'd still like to improve - central defender. With Bruno leaving we need extra cover there.

Rangers' official squad list for the first-round qualifiers was released by UEFA on Tuesday, with former skipper Lee Wallace a notable omission.

But Gerrard insists that has nothing to do with his ongoing disciplinary dispute following last season's dressing room bust-up with former boss Greame Murty.

"It's because he is injured and because we have the luxury of changing the squad from game to game," he explained.

"There has been a lot of media stuff written this morning about Lee but we are fine. Lee has got an issue with the club and he's injured at the moment.

"That hasn't changed since the last time I spoke to the media."

The boss admits new signings Umar Sadiq and Lassana Coulibaly might miss Thursday's clash with Macedonian side FK Shkupi as they await international clearance.

Injured midfielders Graham Dorrans and Jordan Rossiter are definitely out of Gerrard's first competitive game in charge but he hopes they will not be absent for long.

"Both are going on well," he said. "Graham is ticking along nicely and I don't think he'll be too far away, although it's difficult to put a date on it. It's weeks but not many.

I'm excited to hopefully have him back and it's the same with Jordan, although it might be slightly longer with him.

"Jordan was making a fantastic impression in pre-season and he was probably the stand-out performer in terms of consistency before he got his ankle knock.

"But the knock is not to do with him being injury-prone or anything like that - it was a moment of bad luck.

"He is frustrated but we have to move on and get him as fit as possible."

PA


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