Rangers frontman Alfredo Morelos has been the subject of various transfer rumours over the past few months, linking him with a move south of the border, but should a Premier League club take a punt on the controversial forward?
His manager Steven Gerrard has stated on a number of occasions that he wants to keep hold of his star striker, but it may only be a matter of time before the Colombian departs Ibrox.
Should Premier League Clubs Take a Gamble on Alfredo Morelos?
What can he Bring?
Morelos was virtually an unknown player before signing Rangers in the summer of 2017 for a reported fee of £1 million pounds. He started out his career at Colombian outfit Independiente Medellin, before making the decision to try his luck in Europe, signing for Finland’s most successful club, HJK Helsinki.
Initially signing on loan, HJK soon made the move permanent, and the youngster went on score 11 times in 12 league appearances. That form attracted the interest of Rangers, who decided to offer the forward a three-year contract in Scotland. The new arrival showed some glimpses of brilliance in his first season at Ibrox, scoring 18 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions.
However, it wasn’t until the following season before Morelos found top form in a Rangers shirt. He followed up his 18 goals in his debut campaign with another 30, terrorising a host of defenders across Scotland along the way as he finished the season as the league’s top goalscorer.
The majority of defenders failed to deal with the striker’s sheer physical presence, and although he may not always put it to good use, there is no doubt that the Colombian possesses “fire in his belly”.
His teammate Jermain Defoe is a big fan as well, starting in September 2019 that he has the physique needed in a Premier League forward:
“He is a fantastic player and when he plays he is going to score goals like he showed last season. He will do the same this year.
“He is so strong and when defenders get that tight to him that is when he is at his best when he can roll people.”
His brutality and eagerness to get involved has earned him the name “El Buffalo” among fans in Glasgow, and the striker has shown no signs of toning down his aggressive style of play.
He has earned recognition at international level as well and has already made six caps for his country, grabbing his first goal with a strike against Peru.
His fine goal-scoring exploits from 2018/19 has carried over into this season as well, notching another 12 goals in the league. Although it was in the Europa League where the 23-year-old really caught the eye.
14 goals, including two against both Feyenoord and FC Porto in the group stages, has placed the Rangers man at the top of the competition’s goal-scoring charts, as Steven Gerrard’s men exceeded expectations by making it to round of 16 stage.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic postponed Rangers second-leg tie away to Bayer Leverkusen, and with doubt remaining over whether or not we’ll see the 2019-20 campaign resume in Scotland, Gers supporters may well have already seen Morelos put on a blue shirt for the last time.
Causes for concern?
Despite his cult hero status at Ibrox, not all Rangers supporters are dreading the forward’s departure, with many wanting the club to cash in on the “liability”.
So why would many Gers supporters be open to the possibility of getting rid of their biggest goal-scoring threat?
Well, the main reason is due to the forward’s lack of discipline. Rather incredibly, Morelos has been sent off on seven different occasions since arriving from Finland, including three times against Aberdeen, and twice against biggest rivals Celtic.
His most infamous red card came in a 2-1 defeat away to Celtic in March 2019, in which the Colombian reacted angrily to taunts from Scott Brown, elbowing the Bhoys’ skipper in the face, giving the referee no option but to send him on his marching orders.
His lack of temperament has frustrated both supporters and manager alike in recent times, as has his failure to produce on big occasions.
Even when he has avoided sending offs against Celtic, Morelos has still managed to ruffle a few feathers. Despite his positive record in front of goal, “El Buffalo” has failed to score in any of his twelve appearances against his side’s arch-rivals.
This has led to division among Rangers’ supporters’ views towards whether or not the club should keep hold of the forward, but with a valuation of around £10million, is it worth any Premier League clubs taking a risk on Alfredo Morelos?
Where Could he go?
Many English clubs have been rumoured to be interested in the striker over the past two seasons, with Newcastle United being the most recent team to be linked with a move.
The Magpies are in desperate need of some firepower up top, with current strikers Andy Carroll, Joelinton, Yoshinori Muto and Dwight Gayle only scoring one Premier League goal between them this season.
Morelos would certainly add more goals to the Newcastle squad, but with a potential takeover on the cards in the North-East, would the Colombian be the Toon Army’s first choice signing?
Another club severely in need of goals are Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side. Only Newcastle and basement boys Norwich City have scored fewer goals than the Eagles this season, so a new striker up top may just be what is needed.
Christian Benteke’s misfortunes have shown no signs of improving, and although Jordan Ayew has provided a very respectful eight goals in the Premier League this season, Palace are no doubt in need of some more goal-scoring prowess.
However, due to his issues with discipline during his three years at Ibrox, Morelos may not be the missing piece of the puzzle for the fiery Hodgson.
A move to a top-six club may not be out of the question, and although Morelos may not make the starting eleven of any of the top sides in England, he could instead be deployed as an option from the bench.
With uncertainty regarding the future of Harry Kane in North London, Spurs may well be on the lookout for a couple of new strikers. And even if Kane is to stay put under Jose Mourinho, a move for the Rangers striker would still bolster the Portuguese manager’s forward artillery.
It may well be too early for young Irish striker Troy Parrott to stake his claim as a formidable back-up, but Morelos has already shown his capabilities on the European stage.
The Final Word
At the age of 23, the Colombian forward certainly has time on his side when it comes to proving the doubters wrong, and whilst the jury remains out on “El Buffalo”, it would no doubt be interesting to see how Alfredo Morelos would fair in the top division of English football.