Rangers manager Steven Gerrard

Leeds United are closely monitoring Steven Gerrard as a prime contender to replace Marcelo Bielsa after the Rangers boss was twice on their radar before, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

Bielsa only committed to a new one-year United contract announced on 11 September after his previous 12-month deal had expired.

A Leeds source has told Football Insider that the club are “always” assessing potential alternatives in case they lose the single-minded Argentine.

Gerrard was the top target of the Leeds hierarchy at the end of the 2018-19 season, when Bielsa’s future was in doubt after they suffered play-off heartache.

He was again on the Yorkshire giants’ target list last autumn and remains firmly on their radar now, 12 months later, following Rangers’ remarkable start to the season.

There is no suggestion Bielsa will leave before the end of Leeds’ first season back in the Premier League.

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But, the Elland Road hierarchy are aware they need a contingency plan in place should they lose their enigmatic manager, who is 65.

Bielsa committed to a third campaign at Leeds after a remarkable second season in which they won the Championship by 10 points.

United have subsequently lit up the Premier League with some of their attacking play but consecutive 4-1 defeats have provided a harsh reality check.

Gerrard has overseen an outstanding first three-and-a-half months of the season at unbeaten Rangers, who returned to action in early August.

His side are nine points clear at the Scottish Premiership summit and are well on course to qualify for the Europa League knockout stage for the second consecutive year.

In other news, Rangers are “very keen” to seal blockbuster deal by 1 January as talks lined up.