Date: 24th April 2019 at 7:00am
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EXCLUSIVE

Rangers defender James Tavernier is a “unique” player who the club are in danger of losing this summer, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Aberdeen, Livingston and Dunfermline forward has been blown away by the Ibrox 27-year-old and how he has developed into a top quality right-back during his time in Scotland.

Signed from Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2015, Tavernier has blossomed in Scotland to the extent where clubs have been linked with taking him back south of the border for a multi-million pound fee.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Whelan named Tavernier in second place in his Scottish player of the year vote, behind only 20-goal Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard.

“Tavernier has developed into a top quality right-back who is the first name on the Rangers team sheet every week,” Whelan said. “His defending has improved this season and he is one of the team’s best goalscorers and creators.

“He’s got 11 goals and 14 assists this season in the league, which is remarkable for a right-back. I know he takes penalties, but he also scores in open play and he’s a big threat in the air and on the overlap going forward with his crossing.

“He’s a unique player, really, and Rangers are lucky to have him. Steven Gerrard needs better players to play alongside Tavernier. Hopefully, they can keep him but there’s been talk of a £7million bid in January and last summer, and English clubs will be watching him.”

Tavernier has made 194 appearances in four seasons for Rangers, scoring 40 goals and supplying a remarkable 59 assists, with 20 of those assists coming in his 54 matches in all competitions this campaign.

He signed a new contract last September that runs until the summer of 2022.

Whelan’s SPL player of the season:

  1. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)
  2. James Tavernier (Rangers)
  3. Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen)

In other Rangers transfer news, it can be REVEALED that the club are in talks to terminate the contract of a £20,000-a-week Ibrox player.