Rangers: What James Tavernier's new contract means - and why it is an important move

Rangers still have plenty to play for between now and the end of the season. There is the small matter of a Scottish Cup clash with rivals Celtic and winning the double, plus an unbeaten league season.

James Tavernier has signed a new Rangers deal. Picture: SNS

Yet, for fans, management and players alike it will be difficult not casting an eye towards what could be a fascinating summer at Ibrox.

With a first top-flight league title since 2011 in the bag there will be a case of ‘what next?’. As Celtic look to completely overhaul their arsenal, for Steven Gerrard it will be about restocking and adding, no longer are they in a position where they need to revamp.

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Rangers: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

That started with new deals for Allan McGregor and Steven Davis and has continued today with captain James Tavernier penning a two-year extension, keeping him at Ibrox until 2024.

Tavernier has had a fascinating Rangers career. Picture: SNS

It is a significant piece of business. Not only does it ward off possible interest from the Premier League, it ensures one of the club’s main men, one of the talisman remains with a Champions League campaign on the horizon.

‘Getting' Rangers

There is an expectancy that one or two of Gerrard’s main men will be sold this summer.

Back in December managing director Stewart Robertson confirmed the importance of transfer sales to the club’s business plan.

He told the AGM: "We know that in time, and as a key part of our business model, is that we have to facilitate an increase in income by trading players.”

That will allow the club to stand firmly on its own feet plus the ability to reinvest.

In such a scenario it is important that a club has those totemic figures. Players who understand the club, ‘get it’. Tavernier does. He knows what the club means, the pressure put on the players, the demands and the standards of the fans.

No one at the club has been through what he has since arriving six years ago. Constantly questioned. Not a good defender, not a good leader, not good enough. He has always managed to step up. He has always showed up. A lesson in perseverance. An example of the strong mentality needed to not only survive at Rangers but succeed.

Swiss Army Knife

Tavernier is a better defender than he is given credit for. There has always just been the assumption that because he is a de facto goalscoring winger there must be something glaringly wrong with his game. As he approaches 300 games for the club he remains Rangers’ Swiss Army Knife.

While his role will remain important on the field but it will be interesting how it involves Nathan Patterson. There isn’t a better role model for the teenage full-back.

Steven Gerrard recently talked about Patterson as one of Scotland’s brightest ever prospects at right-back. However, a Rangers legend whose powers show little sign of waning stands in the youngster’s way. On average, Tavernier has not played an average of 4.17 games per season since joining back in 2015.

Could there be a role change or simply a good old fashioned tussle to see who comes out best?

That is a medium-to-long-term issue. Right now, in the short-term, Rangers have held on to one of their most valuable assets. Not just terms of finance, but talent, influence, experience and that quality of ‘getting’ the club.

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