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Is it now impossible for Souness to take up Ibrox role- Jackson spells out the problems

Keith Jackson has highlighted the possibility that there might not be an Ibrox role for Graeme Souness.

Earlier this year James Bisgrove opened talks with the former Liverpool boss about an unidentified role at Ibrox but the two sides were unable to agree on a deal.

Micky Beale’s sacking resulted in an SOS going out to Souness to be involved in the recruitment of a successor which provided a welcome distraction from the end of another Revolution plus reassurance that a football guy was involved in identifying the next saviour.

Unfortunately Souness identified the wrong man for the task, worse that that he whispered the name Frank Lampard to Jim White then went on TalkSPORT to explain why the former Everton and Chelsea boss was superior to Philippe Clement.

That caused the Belgian some awkwardness at a media conference on Friday, even with the Scottish media fully on message there are bound to be some difficult moments with Clement if Souness is invited into the tent.

When things are good Souness can share the acclaim, the minute it goes wrong he can shrug his shoulders and disassociate himself from the process.

Pointing out that a role and deal for the 70-year-old former Newcastle boss has still to be signed off, in the Daily Record Jackson writes:

Graeme Souness says he’s close to taking on a new role at Rangers and, as is almost always the case when he talks, the smart thing to do is to take him at his word.

The former Ibrox boss is hardly prone to exaggeration or being anything less than brutally honest and straight to the point. And yet, despite it all, something feels a bit peculiar about this highly flirtatious relationship with the Ibrox club’s board which has been going on for months but which is still to be officially consummated.

They’ve been playing footsie with one another since the start of the season, or perhaps more accurately, ever since John Bennett took over the role of chairman and began trying to broaden a few horizons beyond the walls of his own boardroom. Unlike his more insular predecessors, Bennett is refreshingly receptive to change where the running of his football club is concerned and the move to engage with a man of Souness’ calibre is indicative of the new broom he has brought with him into the Blue Room.

Where previously there was a climate of distrust and a resistance to anything which felt even remotely like criticism from the outside, Bennett clearly sees the benefit in being challenged by those who know how the club used to go about its business. Back in the days when, you know, they actually managed to win some stuff.

Tellingly, Jackson adds:

He may be older and a lot less fiery but, even so, it stands to reason that he is unlikely to sit back quietly in the comfy seats and play a part in facilitating this ongoing era of complete and utter mediocrity. Which makes all this ongoing fluttering of the eyelids difficult to understand, especially given that Souness may already feel as if his nose has been put out of joint following the appointment of Philippe Clement as the club’s 19th manager.

Record Sport revealed first that Souness had agreed to take on a key advisory role in the recruitment process – and that he was part of the delegation conducting interviews with Frank Lampard, Kevin Muscat and Clement. But just last Monday this column asked the following question:

If Souness believed that any of the other candidates were better qualified for the role then surely his opinion wouldn’t have been ignored by chief executive James Bisgrove, chairman John Bennett or director Graeme Park?’

And yet that appears to have been precisely what happened given that Souness subsequently revealed during an live radio interview that his first pick for the job would have been Lampard. Souness, almost with his very next breath, confirmed that he remains in discussions with the club over his own potential return in what he described as a ‘consultant ambassador’ role while adding that, ‘We’ve just got a few things to iron out,’.

Unless the role at Ibrox compensates Souness from his current media commitments it is hard to see where a compromise can be found at Ibrox that will prevent him from yapping to his English based media contacts.

Clement has plenty to deal with trying to make something of the carnage left behind by Beale, whether having Souness in-house or outside whispering about Lampard to anyone that will listen is the expensive question that Bennett and Bisgrove now have to address.

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