Rangers eyeing up January pre-contract move for Blackburn Rovers midfielder Joe Rothwell

The midfielder has been a mainstay in Tony Mowbray’s side this season

Rangers are targeting a January transfer swoop for Blackburn Rovers midfielder Joe Rothwell, according to reports.

The 26-year-old’s contract at Ewood Park is set to expire at the end of the season and the Ibrox club are said to be front-runners for his signature as they line up a pre-contract move.

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Rothwell spent 12 years in the youth academy at Manchester United, where he had loan spells at Blackpool and Barnsley.

He left Old Trafford in 2016 to join Oxford United and became a pivotal figure for the League One outfit which earned him a move to Rovers.

The English Championship side have reportedly tabled a new contract but would be open to cash in on one of their prized assets in the next transfer window rather than risk losing him for free next summer.

Described as an energetic box-to-box midfielder, Rothwell is a former England under-20 international and Rangers manager Steven Gerrard would be keen to bolster his options in the middle of the park.

That could see Rothwell compete with Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, John Lundstram and Ryan Jack for a starting berth.

Rothwell, who was strongly linked with newly promoted Brentford during the summer, has scored eight goals in 130 appearances for Blackburn.

To date, he has recorded three assists in 11 games this season.