This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Football Insider, Aston Villa will set their sights on Rangers right-back James Tavernier should current first choice option Ahmed Elmohamady link back up with his former boss Steve Bruce at Newcastle United.
What’s the word?
Recent reports have suggested that Bruce is fighting to get Elmohamady at St James’ Park, who he has managed at three different clubs – Sunderland, Hull City and Villa. Though, those in charge of transfers at the club would prefer to sign a younger option.
A knock-on effect could lead to Villa boss Dean Smith pursuing Tavernier should his veteran right-back depart Villa Park before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
It it thought that Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will hold out for at least £10m with their club captain being in the peak of his career at the age of 27. He also still has three years remaining on his current contract.
Should the Egyptian leave Villa Park then Smith will be left with an inexperienced and young duo in James Bree and Frederic Guilbert – who the club signed on deadline day of the January transfer window from Caen, before loaning him back to the relegated Ligue 1 club.
An ideal replacement
Tavernier could prove to be an ideal replacement if not a substantial improvement on Smith’s current options on the right side of defence.
Last season, the 27-year-old was probably one of Gerrard’s most influential players – not only because he was captain – but because of his goals and assists record.
Yes, 14 of those goals were from penalties but that only goes to show his spot-kick taking nous and you’d still take three goals per season from your right-back – that’s better than most in that position and is certainly more than what Elmohamady has managed in his entire Aston Villa career having scored just twice in 87 appearances.
That assist figure is outstanding too – Liverpool’s Andy Robertson managed seven less, Eden Hazard three less and the Bradford-born ace was only short of Lionel Messi by two. That only goes to show the level of output in which Tavernier can produce.
The former Newcastle man may have little Premier League experience to his name, just like the two that would be behind him in the pecking order should Elmohamady actually depart, but he’s performed at an elite European level by competing in the Europa League on multiple occasions.
£10m in the current transfer market would appear to be quite the steal too – Kieran Tierney is commanding a £25m fee from Arsenal despite facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury and underperformed in comparison to Tavernier having scored just once and only assisted a fraction of his figure with six.
Meanwhile young talent in the Premier League has seen figures well in advance of £40m with 21-year-old Aaron Wan-Bissaka moving to Manchester United for £50m whilst Kyle Walker swapped Spurs for Manchester City at the same age as Tavernier for a fee of £45m.
Villa boss Smith has shown he isn’t afraid to get the cheque book out on multiple occasions this summer – 12 new players have walked through the door at Villa Park for an amount surpassing £130m – there would be no harm in prizing away one of the Scottish Premier League’s best players for just another £10m.