According to the latest reports from the Daily Mail, Brighton and Southampton are weighing up a bid for Rangers captain James Tavernier. The right-back has had an influential season in terms of attacking numbers as he has scored 16 goals and assisted a further 20 this season. Such performances haven’t gone unnoticed down the south and along with the Seagulls and the Saints, Burnley are also said to be interested.
It is believed that Rangers would be forced to listen to offers if the bid is somewhere around £8m. Tavernier will be 28 this October, and those numbers could tempt Steven Gerrard to sell the defender. The English defender has been at the club since 2015 and has established himself as one of the integral members of the first team.
How is Tavernier important for Rangers?
Thirty-six attacking returns from a full back is impressive numbers. It’s true that most of his goals are from penalties, but the 27-year-old provides a lot of attacking outlet down the right which is proven by his 20 assists. The former Newcastle United player is also on set-piece duty for his side, and the English fullback packs a mean punch with his right foot.
He has decent pace and dribbling skills which makes him an asset high up the pitch. So much so that Tavernier can easily fit in as a right midfielder.
However, defensively the 27-year-old has shown vulnerability throughout the season. His positioning sense is sometimes wrong, and Rangers have conceded goals because of their captain’s defensive frailties. Nevertheless, he has continued to remain an essential player for the Gers as he has made 55 appearances in all competitions this season.
What should be Gerrard’s play?
Given the age, we feel that Gerrard should sell the defender if he receives an offer worth £8m. That sum should be enough for the manager to look for an able replacement and it can also help him in bolstering other areas. Jon Flanagan has filled in well as a left back, and he is predominantly a right back. So the former Liverpool man can do more than a decent job as a right back until Gerrard can find a more reliable option.
Defensively, Tavernier has usually been vulnerable, and his attacking returns have acted as a cloak to his overall abilities. We believe this is a deal which Rangers should take even though the former Wigan player is the current captain of the side.
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