By Ben Wild

29th Dec, 2020 | 9:30pm

Royal Antwerp rocked by club development ahead of Rangers clash

Royal Antwerp boss Ivan Leko has quit the club to take up a managerial role in China just six weeks before the Belgian side’s clash with Rangers. 

The Gers drew Antwerp in the knockout stages of the Europa League after finishing top of their group ahead of Benfica.

Plenty of fans are looking forward to the clash and this latest development may give the Light Blues a boost well in advance of the tie.

Antwerp confirmed that Leko suddenly quit the club on Tuesday afternoon to take up the job as boss of Chinese Super League side Shanghai SPIG.

This means Antwerp are now looking for a new manager to lead the club through the rest of their domestic season as well as their tricky European tie against Rangers.

Assuming that Antwerp bring in a new manager quickly, which is doubtful considering the abrupt nature of Leko’s departure, the players will only have a few short weeks to get to grips with their new boss.

This could be a huge boost to such a well-drilled and harmonious side like Rangers who will be looking to exploit any weakness they can find.

The Gers would probably be favourites heading into the tie anyway but the odds will be shifting in their favour even further now Antwerp have to appoint a new manager as soon as possible.

Antwerp still sit fifth in the Belgian Jupiler League and they aren’t having a bad season which is what makes Leko’s departure even stranger.

The Gers have a great chance to take advantage against a side who will still have a fairly new manager in mid-February.

Though Steven Gerrard’s side can’t take anything for granted and they will still need to turn up in both legs of the important European clash.

In other Rangers news, Alex McLeish casts doubt on reported Gers move for 24y/o