The life of a football manager - barely getting a chance to clear your desk before the world is already rattling on about who's going to replace you.

Mind you, in Giovanni van Bronckhorst's case, speculation over a successor has been rife for weeks prior to Rangers' decision to pull the plug on his tenure. A dismal start to the season, both domestically and in Europe, has proven the end for the Dutchman as last season's Scottish Cup win and run to the Europa League Final become nothing but a distant memory.

That’s the nature of this ruthless business and it's now over to sporting director Ross Wilson and the rest of the Ibrox board to decide who he replaces him.

Here are seven names being discussed by fans and priced up by the bookies.

Ralph Hasenhuttl

The Austrian coach has found himself among the names in the current speculation swirl thanks to his sacking at Southampton in early November. A proponent of high press, high energy football, Hasenhuttl sums up what he wants from a team as "pressing, hunting, be hungry", traits you might say Rangers have sorely lacked of late.

The obvious stumbling block is the inflated Premier League wages the 55-year-old will have been earning at St Mary's, coupled with reports he was considering retiring once his Southampton contract came to an end in 2024. If he plans to take on one last job then you get the feeling it'd be one he's extremely passionate about or perhaps one last big pay day.

Rangers can't quite offer him the latter but the lure of adding silverware to a relatively sparse managerial CV and a crack at playing European football might just give him something to think about.

He does already have a relationship with Wilson from their time together with Saints.

Steven Gerrard

HeraldScotland: Steven Gerrard is out of work after being sacked by Aston VillaSteven Gerrard is out of work after being sacked by Aston Villa (Image: PA)

He couldn't, could he? The bookies seem to think so.

Gerrard clinched the most significant league title in Rangers' modern history before departing under a cloud for Aston Villa, the timing of his departure leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of a considerable number of fans. But time is a great healer and there may be a greater deal of understanding around the former Liverpool captain's departure considering how so many supporters have turned on the club's recruitment strategy in recent months, something it was suggested Gerrard grew frustrated with.

But therein lies the barrier to a comeback - would he really be keen on a return with those concerns in mind? He'd surely need some pretty cast iron assurances.

Also, his previously high stock has taken a considerable hit given how Villa disintegrated under his stewardship and he may ponder the merits of retreading old ground.

Michael Beale

Still an immensely popular figure among supporters from his stint as Gerrard's right hand man, Beale has stepped out on his own as manager of Queen's Park Rangers. His burgeoning reputation has only continued to grow, turning down the opportunity to coach in the Premier League with Wolves.

In October, Beale refused to be drawn on the possibility of replacing Van Bronckhorst, fairly insignificant considering the Dutchman still in situ, but has certainly kept Rangers close - paying Ibrox a visit for the recent win over Aberdeen and also insisting there was "no way" Celtic would have won last season's title had Gerrard and his staff remained in Glasgow.

Beale turned down Wolves out of a sense of loyalty to QPR, so he's clearly in no rush to leave Loftus Road. But it's clear Rangers are a club which means a lot to him, so you'd imagine the Ibrox board will at least ask the question.

He would certainly have the backing of the fans.

Kjetil Knutsen

HeraldScotland: Kjetil Knutsen has worked wonders at Bodo/GlimtKjetil Knutsen has worked wonders at Bodo/Glimt (Image: PA)

A popular suggestion among fans, the Bodo/Glimt manager has been widely lauded for his work in transforming the Norwegian club. Newly promoted and unfancied when he took the helm in 2018, he immediately led Glimt to a second place finish in the Eliteserien before winning consecutive titles in 2020 and 2021 - the first ever in the club's history.

Notable results in Europe quickly followed, including a 6-1 demolition of Jose Mourinho's Roma and two victories over Celtic in the Europa Conference League. Such feats do not go unnoticed, however, and the inevitable dismantling of Knutsen's squad in the transfer market has taken a toll this term.

The manager lost the likes of star midfielder Patrick Berg, striker Erik Botheim and defender Marcus Lode, with winger Ola Solbakken also looking destined to join Roma this January. Thus, Glimt lost their grip on the Norwegian title to Molde in the 2022 campaign, finishing 16 points behind in second place.

You may think this would tee up Knutsen for a new challenge but he has recently insisted - publicly, at least - that he has no interested in leaving at the moment.

Sean Dyche

We've seen rather a lot of the former Burnley manager in the media of late, which usually suggests only one thing - he wants back in the game. Dean told talkSPORT less than a fortnight past that his priority remained returning to the Premier League following his sacking by the Clarets back in April.

He maintained there was a "window of opportunity" for a way back into England's top-flight, given the league has been placed on pause for the Qatar World Cup. In the same breath, however, he admitted that no approaches would force him to broaden those horizons before immediately batting his eyelashes at Rangers and Wilson, suggesting the Ibrox sporting director - who he previously worked with at Watford - should "invite me to the Old Firm derby".

Dyche has been somewhat pigeonholed as a coach and the general perception of his Burnley side is they were, shall we say, less than progressive. The 51-year-old has been on somewhat of a PR offensive to alter that image but Rangers would certainly be forced to consider whether he'd be the right fit, given they've consistently struggled to break down the low blocks frequently thrown up by Premiership opponents.

Marcelo Bielsa

HeraldScotland: Marcelo Bielsa left Leeds a legendMarcelo Bielsa left Leeds a legend (Image: PA)

There's little doubt Rangers need to make a splash with their next appointment, given their dire position in the Premiership title race and the level of ire currently being directed at the board. Bielsa would certainly fall into the blockbuster category, likely a little bit too much so.

Ibrox needs an injection of, well... something, anything, at this point and the Argentine would bring a thunderous brand of football and an uncompromising commitment to his attacking principles. A bonafide legend in coaching circles, Bielsa was described by Pep Guardiola as “the man who knows more about football than anyone else” and has influenced countless others, including Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone and Louis van Gaal.

His work at Leeds United was his first foray into British football and he left Elland Road a legend in February this after returning the club to the Premier League following a 16-year absence.

But is he a realistic target for Rangers? It was reported Bielsa earned £8m-a-year at Leeds, which is a hefty sum in most clubs' terms, never mind at Ibrox where the board have just paid off Van Bronckhorst.

As exciting an appointment as it would be for supporters, it's perhaps not one anybody will look at with a great deal of expectation.

Domenico Tedesco

An interesting consideration is the former RB Leipzig manager, who remains a free agent following his departure from the Bundesliga side back in September. It ended painfully for the 37-year-old in Germany and a 4-1 Champions League battering from Shakhtar Donetsk proved to be the end of his tenure.

But it wasn't so long ago he led Leipzig to their first ever major silverware and they were only denied a place in last season's Europa League Final by Rangers themselves. His initial impact at the club was stark, providing a much-needed injection of style and intensity after predecessor Jesse Marsch's appointment proved an unsuccessful one.

But a run of just one win from five opening Bundesliga games this term - plus that aforementioned Euro humiliation - proved enough for the Leipzig board to quickly, and ruthlessly, cut ties with Tedesco.

His free agent status and attacking style of play may well pique Rangers' interest.

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