Steven Gerrard’s Rangers lead the transfer race for Blackburn midfielder Joe Rothwell as they set up January swoop

STEVEN GERRARD’s Rangers lead the race for Blackburn midfielder Joe Rothwell.

The Scottish champions have booked Rothwell, 26, and plan to get serious in the next window.

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Ex-Blackburn Oxford United midfielder Joe Rothwell is tipped for Rangers despite reported summer interest from Prem Brentford’s new boysCredit: Rex

Rothwell can sign a pre-contract with a non-English club in January.

And Gers boss Gerrard is hoping to fend off rivals by hitting early, which the Rovers prefer.

The former Oxford United star was heavily linked with Brentford over the summer.

But the Bees instead looked the other way amid a wave of transfers that helped them place themselves in the middle of the table in their very first Premier League season.

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Blackburn will try to sell the Manchester United academy product again in the next transfer window rather than risk losing it for free when his contract expires at the end of the season.

It is understood they were prepared to offload Rothwell last summer for the right price in an effort to keep star forward Adam Armstrong.

But Southampton leapt for Armstrong and now the Rovers are in danger of losing their other bright spark from last season.

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