Tavernier shrugs off Saudi Arabia link and focuses on treble chances

The Rangers captain says the team has come on 'leaps and bounds' under Philippe Clement.

Rangers captain James Tavernier has shrugged off links of a move to Saudi Arabia and reunion with Steven Gerrard, saying his full focus is on finishing the season with success.

Recent reports have linked Al Ettifaq manager Gerrard with a transfer swoop on his former club to sign Tavernier and fellow defender Connor Goldson this summer.

Tavernier is under contract with Rangers until 2026, meaning the Ibrox club could demand a big fee from the Saudi side but the player dismissed any talk as “speculation”.

The right-back says his mind is on winning the remaining Premiership matches of the season to pip Celtic to the league title, and then beating their rivals at Hampden to secure a treble.

“It’s definitely not the first time that there’s been speculation or that Saudi Arabia has been brought up,” he said. “I think it’s been the past year that’s been around.

“I’ve been reading what’s been said lately and I think Connor has been tagged on the list with that.

“It’s football. There’s always going to be speculation. I’m contracted to Rangers for another two years after this and I’m full focused on what I have to do this season. Then I’ll focus on what’s to come next season and I think the gaffer has come out and said that I’m a big part of his plans and it’s obviously nice when you hear that.

“My focus is on Rangers and I’m contracted here.”

Tavernier was speaking after being nominated for PFA Player of the Year and he said it was an “amazing feeling” to be voted for by his fellow professionals.

The individual attention may recognise Tavernier’s individual contribution to Rangers’ season but he reflects on the change to the club overall since Philippe Clement came in in October, and says the hard work will continue under the Belgian as they try to close in on their targets for the season step by step.

“We have to take it game by game and try to get three points in every single one of them,” he said. “It’s another important game coming up at the weekend and that’s what we have to focus on and nothing further than that.

“We had a slow and difficult start to the season and the transition of a new manager. I think we’ve come on leaps and bounds from where we were then to what we are now, as a team and a club.

“We can’t think too far ahead. The most important thing is this weekend.

“We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing since the gaffer came in: Working hard behind the scenes on the training pitch. Nothing really changes.”

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