Alan Hutton has urged Rangers to open contract talks with James Tavernier imminently as Premier League clubs eye up Ibrox transfer raids.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Rangers and Scotland full-back suggested the Light Blues need to protect themselves by tying their star defender down to a new deal.

As revealed by Football Insider, the Glasgow giants are braced for bids from top-flight clubs in England for the 29-year-old after his outstanding form this season.

The Bradford-born full-back netted his 16th goal of the campaign against Ross County on Sunday, while he has chipped in with 11 assists across all competitions.

His current contract, which was signed back in September 2018, is set to run until 2022, meaning Rangers risk losing him for nothing if they do not sell or tie him down to new terms over the next 18 months.

Hutton has insisted the Gers should be opening discussions over a new deal right away ahead of the January transfer window.

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Asked if he thought it was time to get contract talks underway, Hutton told Football Insider: I think so, I would be talking to him now, ASAP, because he’s that important.

“When he doesn’t play, which is very rarely, you see how much they miss him. I think he’s really grown into the role of a leader, I think all the boys round about him look to him to do something so I would want to tie him down as soon as possible.

“Look, it works both ways, if a team did happen to come in for him in January and he’s just signed a new deal, the fee’s only going to go up the way. It actually protects Rangers as well and I’m sure that they would offer a Tavernier a deal that’s worth of his performances.” 

Tavernier has made a total of 268 appearances for Rangers since joining from Wigan Athletic back in 2015, with a remarkable 62 goals and 85 assists under his belt.

In other news, Rangers are tipped to sign £5m-valued London-based star amid pre-contract reveal.