Rangers are prepared for Newcastle United to make an £8 million move for their captain James Tavernier, according to The Daily Star.
If the move does materialise, it will not be the first time Tavernier has been at St. James’ Park, as he came through the Newcastle academy before being sold to Wigan in 2014 – though he only ever made 10 appearances in the black and white shirt.
Tavernier has become an influential player for Rangers, as he is now their captain and played for them 57 times in all competitions last season, scoring 17 goals and assisting 20 from right-back – which is an incredible record for a defender even if many of his goals came from the penalty spot.
While his goal-scoring record is eye-catching, that will not be enough to persuade Steve Bruce he should bring the 27-year-old back to St. James’ Park, as he is likely to build his side on defensive solidity, with his Sheffield Wednesday team of last season keeping nine clean sheets and only conceding 17 goals during his 18 games in charge.
Football Scotland have written: “The defensive side of his [Tavernier’s] game has rightly been questioned, but it’s an area he’s worked on and is much improved compared to when he first joined the club.”
Some will argue that improvement isn’t hard to see in the Scottish league, but Tavernier has also helped Rangers keep clean sheets in the Europa League, against the likes of Villarreal and Spartak Moscow.
Not only would Tavernier’s return to St. James’ Park be a feel-good story given his status as an academy graduate and the relative dearth of those in the Magpies’ squad, it would also be useful for Newcastle on the pitch when looking at his stats.
If he can replicate the kind of influence he had in Scotland, he will be able to help the side going forward and with his defensive work having improved, he should also be able to help the team defensively.
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