Newcastle United Opinion: Magpies could be in for a real coup if Bruce manages to convince Mike Ashley regarding James Tavernier move
According to The Scottish Sun, Newcastle United have been linked with a move to re-sign former player James Tavernier from Rangers, with reports claiming that new Magpies boss Steve Bruce is keen to bring the 27-year-old back to Tyneside this summer.
The same report claims that Bruce has made it a priority to bring the Rangers captain back to the north-east of England, as he looks to build a squad capable of improving on last season’s 13th-place finish in the Premier League under Rafael Benitez.
Tavernier, who started his career in the youth ranks at Leeds United in West Yorkshire, joined Newcastle United at the reserve level in 2008 before making his first-team debut for the Magpies in a 2-0 defeat to Peterborough United in the League Cup in 2009.
However, he struggled for regular minutes due to stiff competition for places in the first-team ranks.
Subsequently, he spent time on loan at Gateshead, Carlisle United, Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons, Shrewsbury Town and Rotherham United, making just 10 senior competitive appearances in all competitions over the course of four years before joining Wigan Athletic in the Championship in 2014.
A short loan stint at Bristol City from the Latics preceded a move north of the border to Old Firm giants Rangers in the summer of 2015, and Tavernier hasn’t looked back since then.
The right-back plundered 10 goals and 18 assists in his first season at Ibrox to propel the Gers to a promotion-winning campaign in the Scottish Championship and that was only the beginning of an incredible spell in Glasgow.
Tavernier has established himself as one of the key driving forces at Ibrox over the past three seasons and the 27-year-old has been central to whatever the Gers have achieved since their return to the mainstream of Scottish football following that sorry tale of liquidation in 2012.
Currently the club-captain under Steven Gerrard, Tavernier has racked up some eye-watering numbers for a full-back, having accumulated 43 goals and 61 assists in 198 appearances in all competitions.
It might sound surprising but the Bradford-born right-back has, indeed, carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most creative players north of the border.
To put things into perspective, Tavernier’s career might have failed to take off during his first stint at Newcastle but he is very much an established player nowadays and held in high regard by the Ibrox faithful.
At 27, he is very much in his prime years and Tavernier certainly deserves another shot at the Premier League after such resounding success north of the border.
Considering the fact that the Magpies currently lack the right kind of balance in their full-back department, Newcastle’s interest in Tavernier certainly makes sense, although Rangers are unlikely to let their club-captain depart on the cheap.
The Gers are in a strong negotiating position should any of the potential suitors come knocking on the door for the right-back’s services, given that the 27-year-old still has 3 years left to run on his current contract at Ibrox.
Furthermore, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s obsession with the resale value of players and his reluctance in buying players over the age of 26 might be a stumbling block in the move.
Benitez struggled to convince the board to sign a lot of players last season and Bruce faces a similar kind of challenge, given that Tavernier won’t command a significant resale value if the Magpies complete a deal for him at this stage of his career.
The 27-year-old could definitely add a lot of value to Newcastle’s ranks if he manages to hit the ground running the same way he has done at Rangers over the years.
He seems to have come a long way since those days when he was a struggler in the youth ranks at Tyneside and Tavernier has certainly shown a lot of maturity in all aspects of his game in recent times.
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To sum it up, there are a few pros and cons to Newcastle completing a move for Tavernier this summer but one does get the feeling that Bruce would need to pull the rabbit out of the hat to convince Mike Ashley.
Besides that, though, this looks like a good move on paper.