Steven Gerrard’s appointment at Ibrox was a clear statement of intent from Rangers to challenge Celtic’s domestic domination, but now it’s time for the club to follow it up with another one by refusing to give in to pressure to sell young striker Alfredo Morelos.
Turkish outlet Yeni Akit have reported that Champions League side Besiktas are considering a move for the 21-year-old, who ended the season as Rangers’ top scorer with 18 goals.
What is key to the reports is that they say that the Turkish side are not prepared to try to buy him up-front, as sides from China did earlier on this year, but they want to sign the Colombian on loan with a view to a permanent move if he lives up to expectations.
For Rangers, and for Gerrard, it causes a dilemma. In February, Morelos showed that he was prepared to kick up a fuss, demanding a new pay rise amid interest from China, according to the Daily Mail, and any repeat risks destabilising Gerrard’s reign before it has even begun.
The former Liverpool captain lived through similar scenarios with Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez as a player and will find that his new club are in a strong negotiating position given that Morelos got his wish, penning a new three year contract in March.
Morelos is not the ideal striker for Gerrard. There is no denying that Gerrard may wish to look to an experienced partner to help develop his game and fulfill his undoubted potential, cutting out the glaring misses and inconsistencies which see him hit purple patches of form, 14 of his goals coming in two different spells of five and seven games respectively.
That said, Gerrard will see exploiting that potential as one of his biggest challenges and one that he is unlikely to be keen to surrender so early on in his time at the club.
Losing a key man in a deal that has no obvious benefit for the Gers would kill off any optimism surrounding the club following his appointment, whilst the club have the chance to show that they are prepared to gamble on success.