Rangers: Keeping Alfredo Morelos pays dividends

Rangers may well have been tempted to accept £16 million for Alfredo Morelos last year, but their faith in the squad has paid off big time…

Remember the summer that never ended in 2020? A simpler time, with simpler pleasures. We had Celtic fans already celebrating winning 10 in a row, and posting hilariously on social media to that effect. Liverpool, Juventus and Barcelona fans were probably doing a good bit of ill-advised posturing too, I didn’t pay much attention, but certainly the media was quick to award them their respective League titles ahead of time too.

Over here in Ibrox? Well, us Bears never stopped keeping the faith that the Premiership was coming home, but the main talking point was undoubtedly Alfredo Morelos. Watch any Rangers game and he usually winds up taking the centre-stage one way or another, to be fair. He’s the kind of player every team needs, the one that literally everyone else, with even a tenuous connection to the sport, hates yet is absolutely beloved by his own.

The Columbian has been the subject of transfer speculation for just about as long as he’s been wearing the shirt. As the summer heated up, figuratively of course because we don’t get much of that in Scotland, so did the speculation on the striker’s future. Bids were flying in – and we here in Inside Ibrox made a decent attempt at writing about them all, but it was genuinely difficult to keep up – least of all a confirmed bid somewhere in the region of £16 million by Lille, which was, obviously, turned down.

That’s not small money for any club in Scotland and it was testament to how far the Gers were willing to go to back Steven Gerrard, and how little truth there is in rumours of our financial demise, that they wouldn’t take the money and run. Mind you, this is with no less than four other options available at centre-forward, certainly evidence too that Morelos had something worth keeping.

True enough we’ve seen it come to fruition and, indeed, Rangers could well find themselves quids in having been patient with Alfredo. Ibrox legend Brian Laudrup agrees, as quoted by the Daily Record;

“You could say there was a risk attached to turning down that kind of money and Gerrard spoke at one point about the player’s head being turned. His season didn’t get off to the greatest of starts.

But look at it now. Seven points away from the Premiership title and two games against Slavia Prague for a place in the last eight of the Europa League.

That’s history-making stuff with Morelos at the heart of it.

The financial aspect can also stack up again. Because performances of the type he produced against Antwerp are exactly what will bring big money back to the table.

All the eyes of interested clubs in bigger, richer leagues will be focused on continental competition at this part of the season.

Morelos could be playing fantastically well in Scotland and people at those clubs would still question whether he could take the next step. By shining in the Europa League, the 24-year-old has shown he has what it takes. And that argument becomes even more convincing if he can do it again in the last 16 or the quarter-finals.”

The Dane has hit the nail on the head again, don’t you just love him?

The fact of the matter is, goals win games and are thus the most sought-after commodity in all of football, by a measure. No player commands the price tag of one with a proven scoring record, all the world’s top priced players are forwards and that’s not by coincidence. With Morelos, still not even in his prime at 24, you’re seeing someone who is able to deliver on the big stage and that will entice many clubs to take a punt.

Turning down £16 million was a huge risk, but have you ever seen one pay off so handsomely? Here we are, dancing to the finish line, 55th title in the bag, in the last 16 of the Europa League and Alfredo’s value has only increased further. Indeed, perhaps, it’s hitting heights we never would have imagined possible.

Again, all credit to Rangers for the patience and belief in Gerrard and his squad. They’ve built a team in a very short time that not only has dethroned the Hoops, it’s done so in the most unrelentingly dominant fashion imaginable. This is only possible because the club put it’s own interests on the park ahead of it’s bank balance, a rarity to be sure in today’s game.

Transfer sagas are boring, never ending and mostly just fodder for the media when there’s no actual football to talk about. That said, this summer, if Morelos is in one again, I think we can all sit back and enjoy knowing what he’s brought to the club this season. He helped bring us the title, helped stop our neighbours from having more undeserved gloating rights and helped make us a force in Europe. If he wants to move on to pastures new, he’s leaving a legend and that’s beyond a doubt.