We at Ibrox Noise shall first begin by wishing all our readers a Happy New Year. The site has grown in audience and stature the past 12 months, and that is thanks to our loyal and increasing readership. Thank you to all those who have been with us from the early days, to those who have come along more recently for the ride.
However, we start 2018 with a story that we would have been quite happy with a year ago, castigating as we were about this lad, but if anyone has proven us utterly wrong about his capabilities this season, it has been James Tavernier.
While maybe not quite Alan Hutton or Gary Stevens at his best, Tavernier has without doubt been one of Rangers’ best performers, finally making the step up to a higher level – he has adjusted his game, being less obsessed with scoring the sexy goals he did in the Championship, something which hurt him last season, and focusing much more on flank play, overlapping runs, and forming a very decent partnership overall with Daniel Candeias (whose form definitely varies quite dramatically).
It achieved its zenith on Saturday, with his best show in a Rangers shirt, and if not for an outstanding display from David Bates, he would have easily been MOTM.
But, as we know, teams have started seriously sniffing around him. We are aware of Sunderland’s interest, albeit no bid has yet been submitted, and following his increasingly good form, other suitors are sure to join the queue.
But, and here is the nub. While we probably cannot expect an Alan Hutton-esque bid of circa £9M, there is absolutely no reason Rangers cannot hold out for a serious amount of cash if the ex-Newcastle RB is to be sold. We do not have to sell Tavernier, albeit we know our financial situation is hardly lavish – but rejection of a £500k bid for Josh Windass does show we will no longer be pushovers and have learned from the disgrace of the Barrie McKay debacle.
If we do sell Tavernier, it is now with reluctance but the best deal for our club, and on that level Rangers, given also the inflated values of English players, should expect a minimum of £5M for him.
Celtic are expecting around £20M for Dembele if they should sell, they got £13M for Van Dijk (increasing to £21.5M based on sell on clause) – while our position is not quite as strong as theirs, Tavernier has become a real asset to this club (one of our prize ones) and if we do elect to part company with him we must demand a really healthy chunk of cash for him.
Anything less would be insulting. Anything less would be Barrie McKay.