THE talk surrounding Alfredo Morelos throughout the season has been about the penny dropping.

Soon, Rangers will have to decide if they want to cash in if the pound signs are put in front of them.

At times this term, Morelos has been worth his weight in gold to Steven Gerrard. Without Morelos and without his goals, Gerrard would not have finished second in his first campaign in the Premiership and his maiden term as a manager.

But the times when the Colombian wasn’t available, mainly through his own recklessness or mindlessness, perhaps cost Rangers the title.

Gerrard warned earlier in the campaign that those statistics, which ended at 18 yellows and five reds, and those moments of self-inflicted damage, could deny Morelos the move that he covets and continues to work towards.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Rangers set to sign Sporting Lisbon kid Umaro Balde on two-year deal

Yet there are 30 reasons why Morelos will prove attractive to clubs with far bigger budgets this summer. His flaws are clear, but his natural talent in front of goal is undoubted.

Morelos joined a unique Ibrox club on Sunday as his equaliser at Rugby Park, a goal that would ultimately count for nothing as Kilmarnock snatched a late winner, saw him hit the 30 mark for the season.

In the days leading up to the final Premiership match this term, Morelos had again reaffirmed his desire to one day play ‘in a more competitive league’. He also expressed his commitment to Rangers, and the four-year deal he signed in March has tied him to Ibrox until 2023.

It is only natural that a player that has risen from poverty to prominence wishes to make the most of his career, both in terms of the level he plays at and the financial rewards he receives.

Gerrard expects the forward to report for pre-season duty when Rangers return to action in six weeks time, but his future at Ibrox beyond that still seems uncertain.

The prospect of Morelos remaining with Rangers for one more term wasn’t dismissed by assistant manager Gary McAllister last week. Indeed, he believes it would be the best option for him and would give him another chance to improve and impress with the Light Blues.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Lee McCulloch: Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos can be proud of 30 goal season

The loss of Morelos would be a significant one for Rangers. No matter what fee is banked should he move on, he will prove extremely difficult to replace, and not just for the volume of goals that he scores.

It has long been thought that the most pressing concern for Gerrard this summer would be the addition of a playmaker to his Ibrox squad.

Rangers were short of creativity and guile in front of goal for the first half of the season. Too often, they were pedestrian and predictable when it really mattered and, as a result, there was an over-reliance on Morelos to score and win games.

The acquisition of someone who could not only pick a pass but also chip in with a handful of goals looked like being a crucial piece of the jigsaw that had to be put in place.

Yet the change of system in the final weeks of the season, with Scott Arfield moved further forward and Steven Davis and Glen Kamara excelling alongside Ryan Jack centrally, has paid dividends for Gerrard.

Jermain Defoe has undoubtedly benefitted as a result but, at 36, he won’t be expected to lead the line alone and regularly next season.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: The seven best Scottish Premiership games this season

Whether Morelos stays or goes, a striker to replace Kyle Lafferty, assuming he can be moved on after a barren season back at Rangers, will need to be brought in.

Attacking reinforcements in the shape of Jordan Jones and Jake Hastie have already been secured, while the Bosman deal for Greg Stewart will be announced imminently.

A replacement for Morelos, though, will be the most important deal that Rangers do and will likely define their chances of silverware next term.

Rangers have managed to live without the forward in recent weeks, but the prospect of being without him permanently is a far different matter.

Any team would miss a player that scores as often as Morelos, but his disciplinary record proves he cannot be completely relied on by Gerrard.

While no boss wishes to lose his key players, it is for the best that Gerrard allows his star man to move on, providing the valuation is met.

With money at his disposal, the situation wouldn’t be one to fear for the 38-year-old and shrewd manoeuvres in the market could leave Rangers stronger overall, despite seemingly being weakened by Morelos’ loss.

Morelos has undoubtedly been good for Rangers, but Rangers have been good for Morelos. Many thought the Gers couldn’t live without him, but the time has come to find out.