STEVEN GERRARD drew up his Rangers blueprint and decided he had to go back to ground zero.

Now, he is building on more solid foundations at Ibrox.

The first summer of his Light Blues reign saw significant changes made, once again, to a squad that wasn’t fit for purpose and a team that had failed in the Premiership.

Large sums, relatively speaking, weren’t spent and there was an onus on quantity as well as quality as Gerrard assembled a pool, in the space of a couple of weeks, that would take Rangers into the Europa League group stages.

The ambitions on the continent may have been achieved first time out, but Rangers have failed domestically as silverware has once again eluded them. That doesn’t mean that progress hasn’t been forthcoming this term, however.

Further additions have to be made to turn Rangers from challengers into champions and Gerrard is satisfied with the position he finds himself in as he plots the next stage of building.

“I don’t think it will be wholesale,” he said. “When I came in, I came into a broken dressing room with cliques and problems and issues, so I felt it was very important to make a lot of changes and freshen it up to try and provide a base that we can build from and move forward.

“I think we have done that and achieved it, but it is very clear that now it is about quality. It is not about adding players for the sake of the squad, the squad is there.

“Now it is important to try and bring in a higher level of player with more quality to add to the eleven, which will naturally strengthen the squad and give us more firepower and numbers in the top area of the pitch. That is where we have fallen a bit short at times.”

The task of acquiring a group and building a team to win a title inside two transfer windows is an all-but impossible one, especially on the budget that Gerrard had in his first campaign as a manager.

He now has a core, a trusted band of players, in situ but his side still lack quality in crucial areas.

Those concerns must be addressed as a matter of urgency during the close season and the 38-year-old is well aware of the difficulties that will await him once again.

Gerrard said: “There are a couple of challenges, more than a couple of challenges, that come with that and one is obviously financial.

“We have to wait to see what is available. There might be movement within our squad and we have to wait and see what challenges come from that. Are people going to come and offer good money for some of our players and decisions are taken out of our hands? The other challenge is getting the players in.

“Are the right players available? Can we afford them? Do they look in and see this is an exciting challenge that they want to be part of?

“There are different challenges that I am going to have to face in the coming months and I am really excited by those challenges. I look forward to sitting down with Dave (King) and the board in the weeks before the end of the season to see where we are, what the situation is and we will go from there.”

Rangers may operate with significantly larger resources than most of the Premiership, but the funds that Gerrard has to play with right now are considerably less than are available across the Old Firm divide.

Whether it is Neil Lennon or a new Parkhead boss, Celtic have the finances to significantly improve their ranks this summer.

Whatever budget Gerrard is given, it must be spent wisely and there can be no multi-million pound mistakes.

The pressure is on the Liverpool legend to deliver, and supporters will be quick to judge Mark Allen, the Director of Football, as the deals are done and the players arrive or leave.

Gerrard could look to cash in on a sellable asset - striker Alfredo Morelos being the most valuable - in an attempt to further bolster his kitty.

There is a balancing act to be struck, though, between potentially weakening the team and strengthening Gerrard’s hand in the market.

“I think my opinion on that will never change and you always want to keep your best players that are going to give you the better chance of being successful,” Gerrard said. “But if something comes that makes my eyebrows lift, that is interesting, where I can maybe move someone on who I think we can maybe cope without and I can strengthen a more important area, that is part and parcel of being a manager and what the staff, myself and Mark have to juggle about a bit and maybe find solutions.

“The reality is that we are not Manchester City or Chelsea where we have got deep pockets and we can just go ‘yes, yes, yes’ and everything is rosy. That is not the case, there are challenges around it that we have to find solutions to.

“We will wait and see how the next month or two look. The good thing for me is that we have already identified where we need to strengthen, the areas. We have identified personnel in those areas, we have got a list, and depending on what happens and what is available will depend on how quick and who we go for.”

As the finishing line approaches this season, it is only natural for Gerrard to have more than one eye on the future and what lies ahead.

Planning for a pre-season camp on the continent is well underway, while moves are being lined up to get players in as quickly as possible.

There will be time for reflection too, though, and talks will soon be held with chairman King.

Gerrard said: “I’m not sure when Dave will be over. We haven’t spoken for a while - since the last time he was over. I’m sure Dave will give me his honest assessment and we will talk about moving forward.

“I’m not sure the exact date when he will be over, but I do know he will be over. I’m looking forward to catching up. We will cross that bridge when we get the chance, we haven’t really discussed it over the phone in terms of my stuff and how I’m doing but I’m sure that will be on the agenda when we do sit down.”