Rangers should eye pre-contract deal for Southampton's Jeremy Pied

General view of Ibrox Stadium ahead of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Hibernian at Ibrox Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Glasgow Rangers should try and take advantage of the Premier League defender's contract situation and attempt to bring him to Ibrox this summer.

James Tavernier of Rangers controls the ball during the Betfred League Cup Quarter Final at Firhill Stadium on September 19, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

One of Rangers' main concerns during the January transfer window looked set to be regarding what the future held for James Tavernier, with the Daily Mail reporting at the end of December that Sunderland were eyeing a move for the Englishman.

Of course, the Gers would hold onto the right-back during the window. But his contract situation at Ibrox surely means that Rangers cannot relax. 

The Mail reported that Tavernier is out of contract at the end of next season. And as his form currently makes it difficult to imagine that Sunderland will be the only team to have the 26-year-old on their radar, it may be wise for the Gers to discuss contingency plans for the summer in case Tavernier leaves them with a decision to make by informing them that he may be interested in considering his options.

James Tavernier of Rangers volleys at goal during the Scottish Premier League match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on December 30, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Lee Hodson has arguably been a somewhat disappointing signing since he arrived. So while the Northern Ireland international may be a good squad player to have given his versatility, there will be few supporters who will be keen to see Hodson used as anything more than an understudy while he is at the club.

And with Tavernier's gradually-expiring contract surely likely to see the Gers land less - if they did feel compelled to sell - than they would normally be able to command for a player of his quality, using the free agent market may be a very shrewd way to try and cope if Tavernier did decide that he wanted to seek a fresh challenge this summer.

Jeremy Pied of Southampton attempts to cross as Ruben Goncalo Silva Nascimento Vinagre of Wolverhampton Wanderers attempts to block during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between...

The Daily Echo has reported that Southampton defender Jeremy Pied is out of contract at the end of the season, so he will already be able to enter into discussions with any non-English clubs that decided to make a move for the 28-year-old. 

Pied's time at St Mary's has not exactly gone to plan, but on the rare occasion that he has played, he has arguably done well for the Saints and provided good support for Cedric Soares.

Having been an understudy this term, Pied may relish the chance to make the move to a club that can offer first-team football. And if Tavernier leaves, Rangers should be one of the teams to make a move for the Frenchman.

Even if the Light Blues are hopeful of keeping Tavernier at Ibrox, they should still consider moving for the Saints man in the near future as he would arguably be a much better second-choice option than Hodson, and that may enable Graeme Murty, or whoever the manager is, to push Tavernier up the pitch into a more attacking role that he definitely thrives in. 

Rangers' priority and preference will undoubtedly be to keep Tavernier and get the former Wigan man to extend his contract, but with an air of uncertainty surrounding his future while his current deal is in place, moving for Pied may be a very smart way for the Gers to ensure that they have the bases covered.

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