Rangers next manager: The lesser known candidates including Diego Martinez and Kjetil Knutsen

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is the front-runner to take over from Steven Gerrard at Rangers, according to bookmakers.

Rangers are seeking a new manager after Steven Gerrard's departure to Aston Villa (Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Gary McAllister was initially the favourite when markets on the next manager at Ibrox opened, but betting prices have changed significantly over the past 24 hours as Gerrard was confirmed at Villa Park, and the Dutchman surged to odds-on.

He’s not the only name being bandied around though and speculation is rife among the Ibrox support and Scotland over who is next for the champions.

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Among the well-known names like Derek McInnes, John Terry, and Alex Neil are a few managers who have a much lesser profile in British football with odds ranging from 10/1 to 33s.

Diego Martinez, during his time at Granada CF (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

We look at four of the more unusual entrants to the bookies’ markets to become next Rangers manager.

Diego Martinez

McBookie 10/1

Former Granada and Osasuna coach Martinez is fifth-favourite with the Scottish arm of BetVictor – the only company to offer a price on him.

Neil Critchley, Manager of Blackpool. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The 40-year-old was amongst the rumour mill for the Aston Villa job that Steven Gerrard eventually took, but with a background in Spanish youth football, particularly at Sevilla, he would be an unknown quantity to most in Scotland.

Fits the bill as a young ambitious coach without the profile, or playing career, of many of his fellow runners and riders and but though his win percentages are unremarkable, he has a winning track record and a European pedigree – he took Granada to La Liga at the first time of asking in 2018 and then took the Andalusians top of the table for two weeks ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid, eventually finishing seventh.

Qualifying for Europe added to his CV and his side went one step further than Rangers in last season’s Europa League, knocked out in the quarter-finals by Manchester United.

Neil Critchley

Bodo Glimt coach Kjetil Knutsen. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Skybet 25/1

The current Blackpool coach comes from a familiar coaching conveyor belt where Rangers are concerned.

Before taking the Seasiders’ job last year Critchley occupied a number of youth team roles at Liverpool at under-17 and under-23 level. Sound familiar?

Micheal Beale was one of his predecessors at Melwood where, of course, Steven Gerrard cut his management teeth before making the move to Rangers in 2018.

Nathan Jones, Manager of Luton Town. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Now Critchley has Blackpool riding high in the Championship, 10th but a point off the play-off places at this early stage of the season.

At 25/1 with Skybet the Liverpool link is there, but there are many shorter priced, and better known, candidates currently on the lists.

Kjetil Knutsen

PaddyPower 33/1, McBookie 16/1

Highly-rated Norwegian manager Knutsen really rose to prominence with his headline-grabbing 6-1 demolition of Jose Mourinho’s Roma last month in the Europa League.

For those who follow Norwegian football though, Bodo-Glimt’s prowess under the 53-year-old has not been a surprise as they have risen up the Eliteserien from relegation candidates to champions for the first-time ever last year.

Knutsen has a principled style he expects football to be played, and was branded ‘the special one’ by national boss Staale Solbakken recently when linked with the vacancy at Norwich City.

With odds varying from 16/1 at McBookie and 33/1 with PaddyPower there’s a split in the markets and the timing doesn’t quite suit with Rangers seeking a swift appointment and four games left of the Norwegian domestic campaign.

But one thing is for sure, Knutsen’s growing reputation will see his frequent inclusion and links with more and more of these high-profile jobs – especially if he can keep Bodo-Glimt on top for the next month and land the club’s second consecutive title.

Nathan Jones

McBookie 33/1

The Welshman is currently in charge at Luton Town, his second spell with the Hatters.

As a player he experienced action in Spain as well as the lower reaches of English football and also had a spell in charge at Brighton and Hove Albion, on a temporary basis.

Stepping into management in his own right he took Luton to the brink of promotion from League One in 2018-19 – Steven Gerrard’s first season in charge at Ibrox – but left before promotion was assured to join Stoke City in the Championship.

After an unhappy year and a half in the Potteries he returned to Kenilworth Road, now in the Championship partly thanks to his work during the title-winning campaign and has successfully kept the club in the English second tier.

This season Luton are flying high, two points from the play-off positions in the cut-throat Sky Bet Championship.

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