Farhad Moshiri must sanction a January swoop for Everton to sign Rangers full-back James Tavernier amid rumours of interest at Goodison Park.
According to the Daily Mail, Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees are one of several Premier League clubs considering a move to bring Tavernier back south of the border with his Gers contract set to expire in 18-months’ time.
The Ibrox natives have been quick to dismiss approaches in the past, yet are braced for a major battle to retain the full-back this winter following his sublime start to the season that has helped Steven Gerrard to clinch a commanding lead in the Premiership standings.
No Gers player has scored more often or assisted a higher number of league goals than the 29-year-old, now said to be a mid-season target for London trio West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, plus Everton and his boyhood side Newcastle.
Gerrard has been full of praise for his captain’s efforts at Ibrox, describing Tavernier as an aggressive all-rounder performing at the same level as he saw in his former England teammates Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson.
“It’s top-level stuff,” Gerrard said. “I have played with some fantastic attacking right-backs, Kyle Walker, Glen Johnson, Steve Finnan to name a few. Tav is right up there.
“The pleasing thing for me is he is still contributing to the other side of the game. He’s pressing, he’s aggressive, he’s winning his duels, stopping crosses. Our clean sheet record, to me, is just as important as James’ other numbers. Where he is right now, he needs to bottle it and stay there for as long as he can because he’s in fantastic form.”
If Everton’s interest in Tavernier is true, Moshiri must see a reason to sanction his Director of Football Marcel Brands striking a deal with Rangers, as the 29-year-old’s form would serve as the perfect mid-season injection Ancelotti needs while facing a crisis at right-back.
Jonjoe Kenny’s Goodison Park future will surely be enshrouded in doubt with Ancelotti favouring midfielders Tom Davies and Alex Iwobi to slot in at right-back while without the injured Seamus Coleman, who has been plagued by hamstring problems this season.
Former Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan expects Tavernier to be on the market at a bargain fee, too, telling Football Insider: “There was talk of a £7m bid before. There will be teams looking at him in January because he is the modern-day wing-back who ticks every single box.”
Rangers’ legendary head coach Walter Smith also lauds Tavernier for “doing a remarkable job” at Ibrox, where the defender boasts 16 goals and 11 assists across all competitions after 25 appearances so far this season.
Tavernier’s influence stretches beyond his goal involvement and role in 13 Premiership clean sheets, as well, with the 5 ft 9 gem taking 94.9 touches per league game this season, alongside delivering 2.4 accurate crosses, winning 5.8 duels, making 2.2 successful tackles, 1.2 clearances, 1.1 interceptions and taking 1.8 shots, per SofaScore.
His form and Everton’s need for depth at right-back this winter is all the reason Moshiri needs to sanction a mid-season splurge, after Carlton Palmer exclusively told Football FanCast he expects the Toffees’ majority owner to block Ancelotti from making any signings.