Massive PL development as Rangers look to replace James Tavernier

Massive PL development as Rangers look to replace James Tavernier
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14: Ben Johnson of West Ham United during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Fulham FC at London Stadium on April 14, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Massive developments the last 24 hours have suggested Rangers are looking to replace captain James Tavernier and despite what manager Philippe Clement said about the number 2, he actually doesn’t see him as a huge part of the club going forward.

The breaking news itself was last night’s confirmation that Rangers are in discussions with West Ham’s £10M-rated 24-year-old right back Ben Johnson, who is a major and lucrative Bosman this summer, news broken by the eminently-reliable Athletic.

Now, Rangers might not be first in line for the full-back’s signature, with Premier League sides also looking at him, and it being reported today that Crystal Palace are also working on a deal for him.

But the fact we were and are absolutely 100% interested in a RB with 65 Premier League appearances suggests the boss is already looking at life after James Tavernier, because he’s not signing a RB of the calibre of Johnson to have him sit on the bench.

It’s a significant stage in the relationship between Tavernier, Rangers, and the fans.

The majority of supporters do seem to back a changing of the guard, and the potential for selling the stalwart, and Clement and the club don’t seem to be resting on any laurels either on this one.

Tavernier’s strengths and weaknesses have been in sharp focus this season – a strong first half of the campaign before he’s slid quite badly the second portion and we’ve seen a complete collapse of the defence, him alongside Connor Goldson.

And Clement isn’t stupid – he will know, surely, that Tavernier is a weak spot and the fact he and the scouting department have been talking to Johnson with a serious view to trying to sign him suggests very strongly that the manager seeks to replace the RB berth with a new model.

There would be no acceptable way to have Johnson on the bench while Tavernier continued trouble-free and immune in his slot. So the fact the club has entered serious negotiations with the U21 England international hints very significantly that Tavernier will not be first pick by default next season.

There’s also Steven Gerrard’s interest in him from Saudi Arabia as well, interest Tavernier didn’t deny was there.

Some have, mind you, suggested Johnson can play LB, but there’s a guy called Yilmaz over there.

Interesting times ahead for Rangers fans – will Tavernier still be part of them…

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