THERE has been no shortage of potential candidates touted for the managerial vacancy at Rangers since Pedro Caixinha was sacked at the end of last month; Henning Berg, Frank de Boer, Alex McLeish, Derek McInnes, Steve McLaren, Davie Moyes, Michael O’Neill, Alan Pardew, Gus Poyet, Michel Preud’homme, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Tommy Wright have all been linked with the job at Ibrox.

Only McInnes, though, has received the emphatic endorsement of club legends, his ex-players, fellow managers and media pundits alike since Caixinha departed. With very good reason.

The Aberdeen manager is the man best placed to resurrect footballing fortunes at his former club and remains so despite the disappointing result his side suffered on their return to action at Pittodrie against Motherwell on Saturday.

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Read more: Andrei Kanchelskis: Derek McInnes fits the bill perfectly for Rangers

The fact that Premier League club West Brom are now being strongly linked with him following the departure of Tony Pulis from The Hawthorns yesterday further underlines that.

That Rangers have not made a move for the 46-year-old in recent weeks, despite the public endorsement of his credentials by so many, has led to a growing number of supporters starting to question his suitability for the role. There are many fans who are uneasy about his side’s failure to beat Celtic in the past season or to challenge them for silverware.

However, it is completely unrealistic to expect Aberdeen to challenge their Glasgow rivals for the Betfred Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup never mind the Ladbrokes Premiership title given the vast gulf there is in spending power between the clubs.

As McInnes pointed out after his charges had been narrowly beaten by Brendan Rodgers’s men to the Scottish Cup in a thrilling final at Hampden back in May, Scott Sinclair is paid as much a week as his entire squad earns. You do the math.

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The former Scotland midfielder ticks more boxes than any other contender for the position. Having spent five years at the club he grew up supporting as a boy back in the 1990s, he certainly understands the traditions of Rangers and the appreciates the demands for success which there would be on him if he took over.

He is, for a top level manager at least, still relatively young and is ambitious. He has an impressive track record in the transfer market. He has signed very few, if any, failures. The way he successfully rebuilt this summer after losing half of his first team players was remarkable. He has also shown a willingness to bring through youngsters. He is well-connected and universally liked in both the Scottish and English games.

The failure of Rangers to make their move for McInnes could be down to their directors making absolutely certain they get their next appointment right after Mark Warburton’s reign ended acrimoniously after less than two seasons and Caixinha’s dire tenure lasting just seven months.

But the financial situation the Ibrox club is in – they announced they had made a loss of £6.7 million at the start of the month – could be the reason for the lack of activity.

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Caixinha was given in the region of £8 million to spend on players in the summer despite presiding over some inept performances and some humiliating defeats after taking over towards the end of last season. He has left behind players who are pocketing large salaries and in some cases failing to justify them.

Perhaps, then, the compensation which will need to be paid to secure McInnes’s services is the stumbling block. McLeish, who has replaced him as the bookmakers’ favourite this weekend, is available for free.

But can Rangers, despite the fact they are continuing to rely on soft loans from wealthy benefactors in order to remain afloat, really afford to economise? They must, despite their off-field issues, speculate to accumulate. Buying cheap could cost them dear.

McInnes turned down the opportunity to move to Sunderland in the summer. But it was only a matter of time before he was linked with another high-profile job down south. Rangers must act swiftly before West Brom or another leading English club beats them to him.