This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
Rangers are looking at Lanus full-back Leonel Di Placido as a potential January replacement for James Tavernier, according to The Scottish Sun.
With as many as ten clubs looking at Tavernier, per Football Insider, Steven Gerrard has begun to put a contingency plan in place in case the 27 year-old does eventually depart.
Gerrard will face competition from Premier League side Crystal Palace should he need to go in for the 25-year-old Argentine, per the report.
The Argentine right-back has been included in a couple of his national side’s squads of late, for games against Guatemala and Colombia, yet never got onto the pitch.
This is part of the reason he’s viewing a move to Europe, with the report stating his desire to make his international debut.
At £1m, or even a potential loan deal, Rangers would be in line to make a substantial profit if he were to be brought in as a Tavernier replacement.
Tavernier has proven he’s a unique talent and is virtually irreplaceable as a result. His attacking output from right-back is incredible – in his 57 games last season he scored an incredible 17 goals and set up a staggering 20 more.
That’s unheralded for a full-back and, more importantly, makes him pivotal to the Gers’ chances of success, as you can’t easily replace 37 goal contributions.
And it’s not just his attacking prowess that makes him such a key part of the Ibrox club. His leadership skills have meant he has remained captain of a dressing room filled with experienced players and big personalities.
If he were to leave and be replaced in January, the timing would be atrocious. Moving on such an integral figure could derail momentum, momentum that will be crucial as the Gers boss looks to win his first silverware in management.
If the Light Blues must move Tavernier on, then next summer would be a slightly better time to do it (there’s no ‘good’ time to lose a player of his skill).
At least that way Di Placido could come in and learn the ropes with the support of both the skipper and Jon Flanagan, and would potentially be ready to take over the helm permanently from the 2020/21 season.
Losing Tavernier half-way through the campaign though, and replacing him with someone who has never played in Europe, would be a monumental risk with potentially season-defining implications.