John Bennett and James Bisgrove will take their search for a new Rangers manager to the next level this week.

The Chairman and CEO will speak to a preferred list of candidates in London as the club prepares to appoint Michael Beale’s successor.

Defeat in Cyprus on Thursday night had plunged Rangers deeper into crisis and although Steven Davis was able to stabilise the situation with a win in Paisley on Sunday afternoon and despite Bennett’s previous admission that "[the interim team] will remain in charge for as long as it takes to make the right appointment”, the need for fresh leadership and a new dawn on the pitch is clear.

Looking at the potential list of options to replace Beale, who is best suited to the club’s squad and circumstance? Rangers need a manager who will bring them success, that much is obvious - but what must be considered in order to achieve that goal?

The need for a new manager coincides with the topic of a Sporting Director. Forget ‘Who signs the players’ – even if that’s a fundamental question. Rangers have had three managers in two seasons and their squad, although not without redeeming qualities, is now built in a singular manager’s image who was fired a week last Sunday.

Sporting Directors should negate the need for rebuilds and instead look to refresh, setting long-term strategies beyond the immediate focus a manager must have to keep their job. And managerial appointments should be made with the squad's profile in mind. They ought to safeguard the club for a longer duration of time than short managerial lifespans. For all the unknowns surrounding Ross Wilson and recruitment, a legitimate critique of his time in Glasgow is this lack of successful future strategizing - whether that be managerial appointments or the state of the squad heading into this summer.

Beale's hand on recruitment this summer shows the risks attached to such a strategy and whoever is appointed next must not hold such sway, while of course still retaining influence. 

Appointing a new manager without such a position fulfilled is a risk, especially when you consider how we’ve got here. Rangers spent a serious outlay of their summer budget on Cyriel Dessers and Sam Lammers, both of whom have failed to make the desired impact and started on the bench against St Mirren. The point is while thinking in the short term currently, there must be, as is the case internally, an acknowledgement that nothing good can be built on the pitch if sackings follow every Autumn. There's a delicate balance to be struck within this appointment. 

After all, the incoming manager will have no pre-season and inherit a squad that's just been rebuilt. There will need to be a serious degree of working with what they've got before the longer-term picture comes into focus.

In appointing a manager without that structure, therefore, Rangers must consider multiple factors.

This isn’t the environment for a novice without experience of managing not just a club, but an institution. Nor is it the time to turn to somebody without a track record of winning. What’s more, can you really afford to give the job to a name without a history of instilling a successful playing identity?

There are other serious factors to consider. This is a squad designed to hand attackers freedom in central areas – so what is the short-term downfall of appointing a manager reliant on wingers, superiority from wide areas and speed in the final third?

Whoever assumes the role will need short-term results to achieve supporter buy-in and ensure this season can still bring success. Beale was able to achieve that last season by going unbeaten in his first 14 matches, but unable to then make good on the time promises in press conferences and promising signs on the pitch had earned.

Stature, as mentioned, is important but a past association with the club is not as the past two appointments prove. Would a ‘disciplinarian’ demand more respect than this group has for Davis? Despite the clear root and branch change still required, would players react better to an old-school approach, which is old-school for a reason? Or, alongside the systemic change that must still occur within this squad, will footballing solutions not provide an answer to footballing problems?

READ MORE: James Bisgrove and John Bennett will hold final Rangers job interviews this week

All of these factors, however, must be underpinned by a non-negotiable – the manager who has the best chance of being a success and changing fortunes on the park is the one most capable of producing winning football. And how do you do that in Rangers’ context? By producing a team capable of moving defences, creating space and then creating chances.

Kevin Muscat, 50, is currently in charge of Yokohama F. Marinos having succeeded former Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou in Japan and previously at Melbourne Victory. Muscat has won two titles in Australia and one in Japan with his Marinos side currently second in the table.

But is he just a Postecoglou prototype? Is this too obvious an example of Rangers trying to model Celtic’s recent success by acquiring a manager very much in the mould of the now-Tottenham Hotspur boss?

Although, clearly, the Australian has taken plenty from Postecoglou’s playbook, suggesting he’s simply been successful on the back of those foundations is too easy, failing to consider factors such as player turnover or the fact that his predecessor did not win the A-League title with Melbourne Victory. Despite being part of the City Group, Marinos are not one of the league’s financially dominant sides.

That’s not to say there aren’t questions about the prospect of his appointment. It’s fair to say that previous association with Rangers has not been a happy marriage in the past two appointments and if Muscat were to fail, the criticism with this in mind would be intense. Would he be in the frame if not for a short playing stint in Glasgow?

However, in response, Muscat has plenty of factors working in his favour. The Australian can implement a successful, attacking philosophy that would be enjoyable to watch and effective in the game state Rangers often face. Muscat’s Marinos play a high-tempo football focused on attacking principles. The treble-winning defender wants to dominate the ball, play forward quickly and overwhelm opponents. Arguably, on the basis of recent evidence, those principles are exactly what supporters desire, even if the squad may not be built for such demands at present and questions remain as to how this would be implemented with no pre-season. He’s perhaps less tactically fluid than some other candidates with a heavily systems-based approach focused on quick forays through the pitch, vertical attacks and domination of the ball.

The question is, how suited is this squad in the short term to those demands? Does the Ibrox squad boast the dynamism in wide areas and press resistance at the base of midfield to not require another rebuild? Would Muscat’s football be able to yield the short-term results required to earn the long-term platform?

Of course, players can learn more than one style but when considering the suitability of a manager who will likely base his style of play on a philosophy more heavily than adapting to individuals, those conversations will need to take place.

Phillipe Clement looks to tick the widest array of boxes for Rangers. The 49-year-old has won titles as the dominant team in the Belgian league with more than one club (Genk in 18/19 and Club Brugge in 19/20, 20/21). He’s managed in one of Europe’s top five leagues by taking over at Monaco in January 2022, losing his job the following summer despite the initial success of finishing third. He’s experienced, possesses stature and has achieved relative success with Brugge in the Champions League. Clement was good enough for Monaco, one of the better-run clubs in modern football then under the stewardship of Sporting Director Paul Mitchell, and has a strong track record of developing young players.

“His profile as a modern coach, with his teams playing with great intensity, including on the continental stage, and his ability to combine titles and the development of young players have made him one of the most prominent and successful coaches in Europe in recent years,” was Mitchell’s summation when Clement became Monaco manager in 2022.

Thomas Buffel, who worked under Clement towards the end of his playing career in Genk, spoke exclusively to the Rangers Review in an interview published over the weekend about the manager’s social intelligence, training methods to coach successful attacking football and ability to work in pressurised environments. 

There’s an argument that Clement’s flexibility, often moving to a five-man defence in the Champions League while still winning silverware with Brugge domestically, could be better suited to the current squad’s capabilities. Although coaching his team in automatisms and rehearsed patterns of play to improve decision-making during games, the Belgian is slightly more control-focused than Muscat.

Balancing proactivity and reactivity is a difficult task for the incumbent manager and arguably, Clement’s track record proves he can achieve that. A focus on automatisms speaks to the Belgian’s modern coaching focus. As Buffel explained it’s this type of training method that leads to players working in harmony in matches when the pressure is on.

READ MORE: Philippe Clement: Rangers manager candidate assessed by Thomas Buffel

“He puts a lot of focus on patterns in attacking and defending the box. So these things become a habit when you’re in high-pressure situations during games. For example, if you work on the runs that strikers are going to make every day as a team, you’ll recognise these moments better in a game. It might look simple to create this type of football, but it’s the result of hard work.”

Clement is not wedded to a particular system like the Australian and has won titles in a more difficult domestic league. In terms of box-ticking, Clement’s array of man-management, tactical intelligence and CV probably stands out. Yes, he doesn’t have experience of Scottish football and a bump or two in the road may follow as a result, but any appointment in the current circumstance bears risk.

Pascal Jansen, fresh from leading his AZ Alkmaar side to a 2-1 win over Ajax away from home, has his side second in the Eredivisie with seven wins and one draw in eight matches. Jansen also led his AZ side to the semi-finals of the UEFA Conference League last season. His side plays a patient, possession-style based football that’s perhaps more reliant on the opposition applying pressure than Muscat’s fast attacking style. And, as Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s domestic football at Ibrox demonstrated, success in the Eredivisie does not necessarily correlate to the same outcome in the Scottish Premiership.

European success and a strong record against the Eredevise’s best sides, demonstrated again this weekend, show a tactically astute manager who can adapt his squad’s requirements. 

Jansen has spent his senior coaching career at AZ since succeeding Arne Slot. As Ruud Gullit put it when talking to the BBC earlier this week, “He has been at a club that if they get success it would be great but if you go to Rangers you have to be successful”.

And what about Oliver Glasner? The man who stood in the club’s way last summer in Seville when leading Eintracht Frankfurt to the Europa League. Glasner, who left Frankfurt this summer, has spent his managerial career in Austria and the Bundesliga having initially followed up a playing career by joining the Red Bull school of coaching with a role at RB Salzburg. Following a successful spell at LASK, he took Wolfsburg to the Champions League spots in 2021 prior to his move to Frankfurt.

Glasner’s sides play a high-intensity brand of football very associated with the Bundesliga, focused on aggressive counterpressing after losing possession, full-backs or wing-backs high and wide as opposed to wingers and a reliance on transitions. 

"They play on the counter-attack and counter-press in a way I’ve only seen from a few teams in my career,” was Xavi’s full-time summation after Frankfurt defeated Barcelona in the Europa League.

Glasner is clearly an elite coach on par with Clement at the very least given the league in which he’s managed, opponents defeated and players worked with. He ticks the box of stature, experience and successfully employs a playing identity. The question is, how many of those would translate to the type of football played domestically in Scotland? Would he have the space for his football to thrive, or as an elite coach, would he be able to adapt to circumstances?

Rangers is an unforgiving place at the best of times and just now, it needs a manager who can lead this squad out of the confidence dip they’re experiencing by giving them the tools to escape it.

Bisgrove and Bennett require a manager who can assuage this season’s trajectory in the short term and bring success in the long term. Utilise this squad and its abilities this season before there’s an opportunity to bring their own players in January and the summer. And all the while in the background the need for a Sporting Director is clear to ensure that similar conversations are not taking place in October 2024.