RANGERS have opened talks with former England striker Jermain Defoe in a bid to extend his Ibrox stay.
The 38-year-old reminded everyone of his worth when he set the seal on last Sunday’s 4-1 mauling of Celtic with his first Old Firm goal.
Former Tottenham striker Defoe is out of contract next month and has been linked with a return to Sunderland if Lee Johnson’s team secure promotion back to the Championship through the League One play-offs.
The veteran striker has already spoken of his desire to move into coaching as he winds down his playing career.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has confirmed discussions have taken place as they plot the hitman’s next move.
He said: “It goes without saying that Jermain Defoe is someone I have the ultimate respect and admiration for.
“He has been a wonderful player. He has had a fantastic career.
“To get him up here in the first place was something I was keen to do, because I knew he would help the group in the way he goes about his business.
“He’s a top professional and has proved that here. We’re in talks with him at the moment about what’s next for Jermain.
“But we want to be really respectful, we want to give him the time to make his own decisions.
“He’s at a stage in his life where we’ll listen to him and see what he wants to do moving forward.
“I don’t think it’s right for me to divulge right now what’s been said from my point of view and from his.
“But we’ll certainly respect Jermain in terms of his own decisions moving forward.”
Gerrard revealed his intentions during a chat with fans at a mental health initiative organised by shirt sponsors 32Red.
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The title-winning boss expressed his desire for more success with Rangers after savouring Premiership glory in March.
Gerrard added: “At the beginning of the season, just getting back into the training ground and training again was a real high.
“I got a real good feeling about the season.
“We had a lot of talks during lockdown, a lot of one-to-ones and group meetings with the team.
“I got a real special feeling from the players.
“But obviously the night of the St Mirren game, when we got it over the line from the 55 point of view, I think that’s been my best feeling in my time here by a long way.
“It’s given me the hunger to go and try to build on that and achieve more at this club.
“That was a big part of the remit when I came here, that title is what they wanted.
“So to do it in this historic year was a very special feeling for everyone connected with Rangers, and I think that has to be the highlight.”
Meanwhile, Gers have announced a new five-year deal with 32Red that will see the betting firm continue to sponsor the club’s kits.
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