Rangers were left shocked last night by director of football Mark Allen’s abrubt exit from the club citing ‘family reasons’ – and it now leaves a big hole in the structure of the ‘football department’ at Ibrox.

Allen’s exit was confirmed by a statement on the club website and will have, hopefully, kicked off the process to find his replacement.

25th April 2019, Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish FA Youth Cup Final, Celtic U18s versus Rangers U18s; Gary McAllister and Steven Gerrard of Rangers watch from the stand
(Photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The former Manchester City Academy chief has spent two years at Ibrox and helped bring the standards at the club back to a level more befitting of them.

The director of football also played a key role in Steven Gerrard’s recruitment as manager but will need to be replaced soon if the Gers are to avoid a messy transition.

Here were look at some possible candidates to replace Mark Allen as director of football at Ibrox:

Ross Wilson

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 05: Moussa Djenepo of Southampton and Ross Wilson, Director of Football Operations at Southampton Football Club pose for a photo during the unveiling of new Southampton FC signing Moussa Djenepo on June 05, 2019 in Paris, France.
(Photo by Stuart Martin/Southampton FC via Getty Images)

The Southampton director of football was the original target to tak the role at Ibrox before Pedro Caixinha was appointed as manager. After he opted to stay at St. Marys, the process was put on the back burner for a little bit  until Allen was appointed. Still has a fantastic reputation within the game and would be a fantastic appointment. With Rangers finally looking like things are heading in the right direction, it might make the job a bit more tempting for the young Scot. A promotion from working in the Academy at Southampton to becoming director of football might throw a spanner in the works though.

Damian Comolli

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 01: Tottenham Chairnman Daniel Levy(L) and Damien Comolli, the Tottenham sporting director look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on September 1, 2007 in London, England.
(Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

No stranger to Steven Gerrard and many of his coaching staff after a spell as Liverpool’s director of football and head of football strategy. Comolli is currently director of football at Fenerbahce and has spent time in similar roles with Tottenham and Saint-Étienne. Whether he’d be willing to leave Turkey to move to Scotland isn’t clear but would offer a pretty unique environment for Comolli. His track record isn’t great though so it would be a bit of a gamble by Rangers.

Christian Nerlinger

MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 14: Christian Nerlinger, former player of Bayern Muenchen is introduced to the public prior to the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Hannover 96 at Allianz Arena on May 14, 2016 in Munich, Germany.
(Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)

The former Rangers midfielder would be a bit of a out-there pick although he does have experience in a similar role with Bayern Munich and the German national team. Less of a scouting-type and more of an administrator, Nerlinger would offer something different in the role although quite how up-to-date he is with Scottish football isn’t certain. With a pretty established scouting system in place now, Nerlinger would be expected to help improve their effectiveness rather than build everything from the ground up.

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