Rangers have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of Ross Wilson as the Southampton director of recruitment and scouting rejected the Ibrox outfit’s advances.
The Light Blues have been in a state of flux after Mark Warburton’s acrimonious departure last month changed the leadership scenario at the club.
The club have been actively seeking a replacement for Warburton while also searching for a director of football, with Wilson a prime target for the Glasgow-based club. But the 34-year-old, who was formerly the head of scouting at Falkirk and Huddersfield, has poured cold water on the Gers hopes of landing him.
According to the Daily Record, Wilson decided to stay put at Southampton after having talks with the Premier League club’s executive director Les Reed. He formally informed Rangers’ hierarchy yesterday afternoon about his decision to remain at the Premier League club.
The Gers’ managing director Stewart Robertson and finance chief Andrew Dickson were actively involved in the club’s negotiations with Wilson, and the duo now has to pursue other targets. Wilson’s refusal to accept what is a blank-canvas role at Ibrox now further complicates Rangers’ search for a new manager.
Interim boss Graeme Murty has been in charge of the club since Warburton’s exit and has overseen an upturn in fortunes for them. Last weekend’s 6-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Hamilton Academical was the Light Blues’ biggest win this season.
Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha is locked in talks with the club, and his appointment seems imminent. Reports suggest his appointment could be confirmed before next Sunday’s high-octane Old Firm derby against Celtic at Parkhead.
With Wilson now out of the equation, Rangers will hope to bring in Paul Mitchell instead. Mitchell was Wilson’s predecessor at Saints before moving to Tottenham. He resigned from Spurs in August last year; while he is currently serving a 16-month notice period, the 35-year-old is free to find another job after completing six months of the notice period.
Another candidate for the director of football role at Rangers is the ex-Fulham scouting chief, Mike Rigg. With no headway being made in their search for filling the required roles, the Gers are in limbo.
The club are currently third in the Premiership and have a Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic on the horizon. Their season could be at risk of falling apart if they don’t appoint their preferred personnel in time. Ideally, they would have liked to seal the director of football deal before appointing the manager, but Wilson’s knockback means it is likely Caixinha could be installed without inputs from the director of football.