Kevin Phillips has claimed ex-Sunderland star Josh Maja is the real deal as Rangers set their sights on a blockbuster summer deal.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England star has seen plenty of the striker, 21, after his emergence from the ranks of his former club.

Phillips slammed Maja’s decision to quit the Black Cats for Bordeaux in January of last year but is in no doubt he is a top-class operator.

This comes after Football Insider reported earlier this week that Maja is one of Rangers’ summer targets as they assess potential replacements for Alfredo Morelos.

Phillips has seen more of Maja in action after watching the second series of Sunderland ‘Till I Die, the documentary that has just come out on Netflix.

“When you watch the Netflix series it highlights how important he was to the football club – important goals. He was still learning his trade but he was becoming a cult hero up there.

“I wonder whether the people around him, his agent, have given him poor advice. Since he has gone he has not pulled up many trees. It would have been best to stay.”

Maja joined Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux for around £1.5million after rejecting multiple new contract offers from Sunderland.

He scored 15 goals in 24 League One matches for Sunderland in the first half of last season to secure his move to Bordeaux, where he is a key member of the squad if not a regular starter.

Maja has scored eight goals from 24 matches for the French club this season, but made just six Ligue 1 starts.

In other Rangers news, a club legend has hailed potential marquee Ibrox signing as “brilliant” after agent reveal gets fans stoked.