By Wayne Veysey

17th Dec, 2019 | 7:00am

Ibrox Sources: Rangers open preliminary talks to sign PL big earner in January

Rangers have opened preliminary talks about signing Jermain Defoe on a permanent deal in January, Football Insider understands.

Steven Gerrard’s side want to convert the loan contract of the prolific striker, 37, into a full-time deal ahead of it expiring next summer.

Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that discussions have begun with Defoe and his parent club Bournemouth about a transfer that would see him end his glittering career in Glasgow.

Defoe has told the Rangers hierarchy he is willing to discuss a drop in his Bournemouth salary to smooth negotiations, while there may also be the offer of a player/coach role included in the deal.

The ex-England international’s Cherries contract, which is said to be worth in excess of £100,000-a-week, expires next June, coinciding with the end of his 18-month loan at Ibrox.

Rangers are keen to keep Defoe for another 12 months until the summer of 2021, and possibly beyond that in a coaching capacity.

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One potential issue is Bournemouth are in the midst of an injury crisis that has deprived Eddie Howe of virtually a full team of senior stars.

But Saturday’s win at Chelsea has eased the pressure and it is believed to be unlikely the Premier League club will look to trigger a recall clause in Defoe’s loan next month.

Rangers manager Gerrard has made no secret of his admiration of his former England colleague, or the crucial role he plays in the dressing room and as a mentor to the club’s younger players.

Defoe is third in the SPL scoring charts behind only Alfredo Morelos and Odsonne Edouard with 10 strikes this season, averaging a goal every 59 minutes.

In all competitions he has netted 13 times from 24 matches and his overall record for Glasgow giants is 21 from 44 appearances.

In other Rangers news, it can be REVEALED that Gerrard and his coaches have earmarked major role for ‘GEM’ barely seen in four months.