RANGERS manager Steven Gerrard has decided who he wants to replace James Tavernier – should his captain leave the club this summer.
Rangers signed Tavernier from Wigan in 2015 and he has gone on to impress both fans and pundits north of the border.
His pace and power combined with attacking threat have caught the eye of several Premier League sides, with Brighton and Aston Villa currently leading the race to secure his signature.
The 28-year-old scored 14 goals and set up another 14 for team-mates in the Premiership this season, but Gerrard is unlikely to stand in his way if he sets his heart on a return to the English top flight.
The Scottish Sun have now claimed that Rangers will target Royal Antwerp defender Daniel Opare should Tavernier leave, with the Ghana international available for just £500,000 as he nears the end of his contract.
Ex-England international Gerrard revealed towards the end of the season that he expected bids for his first choice right-back, something which now looks highly likely.
Gerrard said in May: “It’s no surprise he’s been on the agenda for most of this season.
“There have been calls about Tav with clubs interested and I’m sure there still is.
“Whenever a transfer window opens, there’s interest in Tav. He has been so consistent and, for me as a manager, he has been there for every game and every training session.
“He has the ability and mentality to cope with playing for Rangers, I’ve no doubt about that.
“What he does need to improve on, however, is his goals return.
“He knows that himself, and he should be looking to get into double figures at Ibrox because there will be plenty of goalscoring opportunities for him.”
One player that has been linked with an outgoing deal at Rangers is midfielder Glen Kamara.
“It has been me who has pulled him away from it at times. If I didn’t, he’d have played in every game. He has the body and capacity for any league.”
Tavernier was subject to Premier League interest earlier this season and the player admitted feeling ‘flattered’ by the links.
However, the defender’s contract runs until 2022 – which puts Gerrard in a strong position for any possible negotiations.
Tavernier said in February: “It’s aways flattering to get linked with a Premier League club but I had a conversation with the gaffer and he wants me here. That’s all you want to hear.
“I love life up here and my family love life up here so I’m really comfortable.
“As a player, not even as captain, my ambition was to pick trophies up here and it still is.
“If the gaffer wants you and you feel welcome you will work as hard as possible to repay that faith.
“I’m here and want to work as hard as I can for the gaffer.”