GRAEME SOUNESS told him all about the Old Firm, Kenny Miller spoke highly of Rangers and Steven Gerrard sold the project. It seems there was only ever one place Jermain Defoe was going to end up this month.

At 36, he has moved to Ibrox in search of a fresh challenge and a new adventure. It is a step into the unknown, but Defoe knows that he is walking in the footsteps of legends.

An ambition to one day ply his trade north of the border has been a long-held one for the Londoner. Now, he has the chance to become a hero in Light Blue.

The 18-month deal Defoe has signed with Rangers could prove to be the final one of his career. As he settles into life with the Gers after joining Gerrard’s squad in Tenerife, this one feels right for the striker.

“There were loads of offers, people contacting me direct, Premier League teams, Championships teams, teams abroad,” Defoe said. “It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to weigh it all up.

“This is something completely different. When I was really young, I remember saying I’d like to at some stage play in Scotland, play in those crazy derbies, the best derbies in the world according to Graeme Souness.

“I was really young then. I played against Celtic for West Ham. I think it was a game for Paolo Di Canio. That was my first experience of coming to Scotland.

“I played in Scotland for England Under-15s. My mum still talks about it now. That was my first experience. I was really young.

“I know about the history of the football club. When I sign for any football club, I always think about the strikers that were there before me.

“Ally McCoist is a legend. And Kenny Miller, who I bumped into in Dubai in the summer.

“And also with Stevie being here as well, another great player. He had an unbelievable career.

“There were loads of things. You weigh it all up and it wasn't really a hard decision.”

There was talk of Gerrard making a move for his former England team-mate as far back as the summer but the wait has proven worth it for both parties after a deal was concluded over the weekend.

A chance meeting with Miller during the close season gave Defoe some insight that has come in handy as Rangers made their offer and pen was quickly put to paper.

“It was back in June when we were both on holiday in Dubai,” Defoe said. “I spoke to Kenny and he just said it was an unbelievable club and at some point they would be back to their best.

“He asked me if I fancied it. Because at that time there was talk on social media about it. At this stage there hadn’t been any contact. But obviously it was in my mind.

“I just bumped into Kenny. I went up and spoke to him and he brought it up. That was how it worked out.

“I know all the goal scorers. As a kid, I never really supported a team. I just used to watch the forwards, all the different strikers.

“I remember watching McCoist when I was a young kid. You can learn off every goal scorer.”

Defoe will never match the scoring exploits or the silverware tallies of McCoist or Miller during his Rangers career but he has the chance to earn his own place in Ibrox folklore this term.

Boss Gerrard will set his sights on the Premiership title and the Scottish Cup during the second half of his first campaign as a manager and the capture of Defoe is a statement of intent from Rangers.

The former West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham star isn’t the first big name to make the move across the border. He is determined to have a headline-grabbing impact, though.

“I know I’m probably going to get kicked about,” Defoe said. “The lads have told me that already.

“But it’s a challenge. I don’t think you can ever look at any league and think it’s going to be easy.

“I remember when I went to the MLS, a lot of people said I would smash it and score loads of goals.

“But if you don’t go somewhere with the right mentality, and don’t do what you have always done, that’s when it becomes hard.

“But if you do what you have always done, regardless of who you are playing against, then hopefully you will do well.

“My hunger is massive after the past 18 months. I just want to play.

“To be fair, credit to the manager, Eddie Howe, because he knew it was hurting me. There were times when I felt I should have played and it wasn’t happening for whatever reason.

“I had a conversation with him and said I just wanted to play football. That’s what I do.

“Of course, it’s nice to be a sort of mentor to younger players, but at the same time your own happiness is important. I’m not a coach. At some point I will do my badges but I’m not there yet. I want to play football and it wasn’t happening.”

That lack of minutes in recent weeks and months mean that Defoe has arrived at Rangers fresh, ready and raring to go for the trials and tribulations that lie ahead.

His debut could come in the Scottish Cup clash with Cowdenbeath next Friday evening. It isn’t the most salubrious of surroundings, but the striker just wants to be back on the park.

“Mentally, it was tough,” he said of his time on the fringes at Bournemouth. “I have had stages in my career where you are in and out of the team, but when I was younger it was different because I wasn’t a senior player.

“Now, there are times where you are a little bit down and you haven’t got any senior players to pick you up.

“You can go to the captain, but you are the senior player. You sort of have to look after the dressing room and make sure everyone else is OK.

“You have to sacrifice your own happiness a little bit. It’s never easy but you have to do it because it’s the right thing to do. You are helping the team and you are helping the club.

“Mentally, it has been tough. It’s been hurting me a lot. that’s why having this opportunity now to hopefully play football and do well is something I’m excited about.”