Bournemouth youngster Jack Simpson has admitted he is flattered by reported interest from Rangers but is not looking to leave the South Coast, The Bournemouth Echo reports.
Rangers have improved significantly under the guidance of Steven Gerrard and their fine form this season, accompanied by the major decline of Celtic, has seen hopes of a potential title charge rise in the first few months of the campaign.
Currently just one point ahead of their arch-rivals in what is a fierce battle at the top, Rangers sit five points behind an unbeaten Hearts who they come toe-to-toe with at the start of October – a battle that could play a huge part in how the season pans out.
Gerrard was extremely active in the transfer market during the summer to strengthen his ranks but did not get his hands on all the players he wanted, as Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe blocked a swoop from the Scottish giants for 21-year-old Jack Simpson.
The young defender has since featured for the Cherries in the Carabao Cup, playing 90 minutes in the 3-2 win over Blackburn, and admitted to The Bournemouth Echo that he was flattered by Rangers’ interest but never planned on leaving his current side.
“It was nice and I didn’t really expect it if I’m honest. It was a bit strange but it doesn’t really matter now because I’m here and I’m a Bournemouth player.
“I was aware of it but just got on with my training and if it happened, it happened. For me it was just important to make sure I developed as a player and it wasn’t really in my control.
“I am happy to be here and be a part of this squad because it’s not a big squad and there will be opportunities to play.”
While Simpson has earned his chance in the first-team in the Carabao Cup, the tournament ends in February and league opportunities may be difficult to come by for a youngster who has to compete with the likes of Nathan Ake and Steve Cook.
Therefore, there is every chance that Bournemouth could change their stance in the January transfer window but Gerrard should avoid moving for the youngster as he does not require another young talent in his defence.
Rangers boast the likes of Nikola Katic, Connor Goldson and Joe Worrall as options at the heart of the defence and, if Gerrard is to dip into the market for a central defender in January, then a wiser move would be to pursue a target who can provide more experience.