The full-back has flourished at Ibrox after moving north in 2015 following a relatively workaday career with a raft of clubs down south. Now, manager Michael Beale is looking to augment his squad for the second half of the season and has been strongly linked with Everton’s Tom Davies and Tod Cantwell of Norwich City. Tavernier points towards the success enjoyed by Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey who enhanced their reputations in Scottish football before landing moves to Southampton and Ajax respectively and he believes other English talent shouldn’t hesitate if Rangers becomes a viable option for them too.
“I think it should be [an attractive place for players coming from England],” he said. “We made a European final last year. This is a place where you can win trophies and you won’t get many players like this with the fans and the atmosphere we get. Obviously it was a disappointing Champions League campaign, but we want to get Champions League football again and hopefully we can get it on a regular basis.
“I think it’s a really attractive football club for players as they can see with Joe and Calvin. Hopefully we can attract a lot more players. If the club wanted me to speak to them, or if I knew a friend of a friend, then I’d obviously try and convince them to come here to improve the team. I think we are always looking to add quality to the team and improve it. We’re all football people and you see with the [Joao] Felix transfer [to Chelsea] that everyone is trying to do business and improve their teams. That’s what we’re trying to do. Just add that quality. As a player and a captain, you always welcome that. You always want to improve the team and hopefully we can get a few players.”
With Rangers trailing Celtic by nine points in the title, Sunday’s Viaplay Cup semi-final against Aberdeen takes on extra significance in the Ibrox side’s quest for trophies. Tavernier was not ready to wave the white flag yet in the pursuit of the championship but is eager to reach the final of a tournament that Rangers haven’t won since 2011. He added: “I think with it being such an early competition that you can win, if you can add that to your trophy cabinet then it can give you good momentum for the rest of the campaign. That’s something we’ve obviously got our sights on, but we’ve got to get past Aberdeen this weekend and it will be a tough game. It’s been a while since the club last won this competition but it was the same last season when we won the Scottish Cup.”
Rangers will hope Fashion Sakala can continue his red-hot form, with the Zambian scoring three times and adding two assists since Beale became manager. “I think for a player like Fashion, as a striker they long for consistency of games and that is what the gaffer has given him,” added Tavernier. “The manager has great belief in him and so do we as a team. If he is picked at the weekend, hopefully he can produce for us again.”
James Tavernier was promoting Viaplay’s exclusive live coverage of Rangers vs Aberdeen on Sunday at 3pm. Viaplay is available to stream from viaplay.com or via your TV provider on Sky, Virgin TV and Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.