Noel Whelan has admitted Jermain Defoe has become a drain on resources after serving his purpose at Rangers.
The ex-striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the hitman did not warrant a top wage at Ibrox any more.
As revealed by Football Insider, the 38-year-old is expected to leave the Glasgow giants at the end of his £30,000-a-week-plus contract this summer.
Defoe would have to take a major pay-cut to remain at Ibrox after falling down the Gers’ pecking order.
However, he is only likely to stay if offered a part-coaching role which could put him on the path towards management.
Defoe has made just four starts in 12 games across all competitions this season.
As such, Whelan believes it makes sense for Rangers to save £1.5million-a-year in wages and let him leave.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think Steven Gerrard brought him in for the experience and for the way he can bring the best out of the younger players.
“He probably knew he wasn’t going to get a full season out of Jermain Defoe. He’s played a lot of games and he’s at the back end of his career now.
“I’m sure Defoe’s left pearls of wisdom with other people. How he plays, his movement and where to be in the right areas.
“There’s no doubt about that. You always get that with a player of his calibre and who has been prolific.
“So you’ve got to look at it realistically now. If he’s not going to be playing next season and he’s one of the highest-paid players, is there any reason why he should be getting paid that if he’s not going to be contributing more on the field?
“I’d find it difficult. If you are going to have a player like Defoe that you’re not going to get maybe three-quarters or half a season out of him, it’s very hard to keep a player on.
“We don’t know where Jermain Defoe is. Maybe he’s thinking more along the lines of the coaching role. Would it be in Scotland or would he want to go back home?”