THE numbers – in terms of age, appearances and statistics – tell only part of Nathan Patterson’s story. The biggest one is the most informative right now.

The deal that will take Patterson to Everton is worth an initial £12million to Rangers. Assorted add-ons could see it eventually rise to around £16million, while a sell-on clause will surely see the champions bank another windfall at some point in the future.

The package is a record-breaking one for Rangers, but it is not over the top or extravagant. It is one that suits all parties right now and, in time, could well be seen as a bargain for Rafa Benitez.

Aged just 20, and with only 27 first team appearances at Ibrox to his credit, Patterson is far from the finished article. Everton, then, are buying into Patterson’s potential.

There are no guarantees in the game, of course, and it cannot be said for certain that the right-back will take his career to the next level at Goodison Park. It all points that way, however, and Patterson now has the platform to fully realise his talent.

There have been times over the last two seasons where that has – through no fault of his own – been stifled at Ibrox and there was always going to come a point where he had to move on for the sake of his career.

In an ideal world, that moment would have come at the end of the season, but the stars now align for Everton, for Rangers and for Patterson and the future begins sooner rather than later on Merseyside, in Glasgow and for a player who has the Premier League at his feet.

There is an irony that Patterson could soon be first choice for Everton but was destined to play second fiddle to James Tavernier at Ibrox for the remainder of the campaign. The circumstances are unique, and Patterson must make the most of the opportunity he has been given.

Just four of his 11 appearances for Rangers have come from the start this season and the problem for Giovanni van Bronckhorst was the same as the one that faced Steven Gerrard. Right here, right now, he couldn’t give Patterson the game time that he wanted and needed.

That is not to say that he will play every minute between now and the end of Benitez’s first season in charge of the Toffees, but the full-back will have the confidence in his own ability that he can make a name for himself in England in the coming weeks and months.

As he does so, Rangers supporters will look on with mixed emotions. There is a natural sadness at seeing a promising youth prospect leave so soon, but there should be an excitement at having the opportunity to see what Patterson can go on to achieve.

A quiet, unassuming public persona hides the driven, determined side of his character. He is blessed with natural talent, but it is his physical endeavours and mental fortitude that have taken him to where he is now.

As Patterson seeks to establish himself at Everton, those same traits that have made him a champion with Rangers and a marked him out as a potential stalwart for Scotland will stand him in good stead. The challenges will test him, but Patterson will rise to each one.

He need not be daunted by what lies ahead as he joins the Scottish contingent in England’s top flight. In contemporaries such as Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Scott McTominay, as well as former Ibrox team-mate Billy Gilmour, Patterson has figures in whose footsteps he seems destined to follow.

He possesses many of the same qualities that have made Tavernier such an integral and influential figure at Rangers, but has the time on his side to develop his game to levels beyond even the heady heights reached by the Light Blues captain. It is just unfortunate for the champions that it is Everton who will reap those rewards.

Should Patterson progress as expected, Goodison Park will be his first destination in England but not his final move. In time, he could well feature for a side that have genuine silverware aspirations rather than one who seem stuck in a state of flux once again.

His rise and rise has been remarkable, but there are many more steps that Patterson is capable of taking in the coming years. The future is bright for club and country and the 20-year-old has all the attributes – technically, tactically and mentally – to be a Scottish success story south of the border.

His transfer eclipses the £9million that Rangers received when Alan Hutton made the move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 but the fee – a fair deal for the champions but still relatively gamble-free in Premier League terms – won’t act as a weight on Patterson’s shoulders.

He leaves his boyhood heroes having helped return the club to the top of the Scottish game and as a re-established force in Europe. He has a medal and many memories, now he can make his money.

As he does so, he will forge his name amongst some of the most famous in the game. There will be difficult days, but Patterson is equipped to shine brightly in a league of stars.

By the time he makes as many appearances for Everton as he has done for Rangers, his value could easily have eclipsed what Benitez has paid for him and the Light Blues will benefit further down the line should that, as expected, prove to be the case.

Patterson has had many suitors, but it is Everton who have made their move, who have bought into the project and the potential as well as the capabilities in the here and now.

It remains to be seen what can be achieved. In time, there should only be winners as Patterson writes his next chapters.