By Wayne Veysey
Newcastle United are plotting a shock swoop for Rangers manager Steven Gerrard as they begin their search for a replacement for Rafael Benitez, Football Insider understands.
The north-east giants are working on compiling a list of targets to replace Benitez following Monday’s announcement that he is leaving when his contract expires at the end of the month.
Sources with knowledge of the Newcastle manager situation have told Football Insider that the club are weighing up an approach for Gerrard as they look at a younger profile of manager as well as more tried and trusted targets.
Manchester City number two Mikel Arteta is another youthful coach on the radar of the north-east giants as well as more established managers like Sean Dyche and Steve Bruce.
Newcastle have not yet whittled down their list of targets to a shortlist of those they will invite for interviews, but the name of Gerrard, 39, has been mentioned seriously behind the scenes at St James’ Park.
He is about to embark on his second season at Rangers after a mixed debut campaign in which the club finished second in the league, well adrift of treble winners Celtic.
But the Scottish giants did make notable progress in the Europa League, only narrowly failing to reach the competition’s knockout stages.
The Liverpool icon has made no secret of his ambition to manage in the Premier League, with his dream to take over one day at Anfield, and there is a growing trend towards youthful managers landing plum jobs.
Gerrard’s former England teammate Frank Lampard is on the verge of being appointed the new Chelsea manager after just one season in the Championship with Derby County.
It remains to be seen whether Gerrard would be willing to undergo a Newcastle interview or walk away from Rangers after just one season.
In other Rangers news, it can be REVEALED that a frequent scorer has agreed the terms of a triple-your-money deal as he’s set to make Ibrox mover for six-figure transfer fee.