It’s hard to think of a more unpopular managerial appointment in recent times than Steve Bruce, so he has a lot of work to do to try and get the support on side. Reportedly one of his main targets is Rangers’ captain James Tavernier.
In a report from The Mail via The Daily Record, Newcastle want to sign Tavernier, who came through their youth ranks before joining Wigan in 2014.
The Daily Record story does state that the player is under contract until 2022, so it’s likely a large fee would be needed to convince Steven Gerrard to sell.
Tavernier is at his best going forward, with a record of 19 goals and 28 assists in 102 Scottish Premiership games. He’s also lethal from the penalty spot and a great set piece taker.
The major downside is his defensive ability. Far too often found out of position and easily beaten by opposition wingers, he wouldn’t exactly bring defensive steel to The Magpies next season.
From a PR point of view it makes sense for Bruce, he’s familiar with the club and would provide some excitement going forward. The main problem would be coming up against better and quicker players in The Premier League.
Rangers dominate most games which allows him to get forward and cause problems, whereas Newcastle are often pinned back and struggle to control possession. There’s a real danger the move could expose the worst of his game, and would be a huge risk for Newcastle if they did need to spend a large fee to get him.
He is a better player than DeAndre Yedlin who played in 28 games for Newcastle last season, but probably not a big enough upgrade to take them to the next level.