THE debate about how much Alfredo Morelos is worth has been going back and forth for more than a year now and it will continue to rumble on after he leaves Rangers.

No matter what figure you put on it, the only answer that matters to Rangers is this: He is worth what someone is willing to pay.

When Beijing Renhe made an approach for Morelos last January, supporters of rival clubs scoffed at the idea that the Light Blues would turn down a bid of around £8million. In truth, there were probably many Gers fans that would have cashed in there and then.

Now, though, it will take an offer of at least double that for the Ibrox board to even consider doing business. That shows the improvement in Morelos as a player and a prospect, but also the progress that Rangers have made both on the park and off it.

When the Colombian does move on, he will become the most expensive player ever to leave Ibrox and easily surpass the fee £9million received when Alan Hutton moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.

If Rangers are able to strike the right deal, he could even be Scottish football’s biggest ever sale and it is the £18million that Celtic banked for Moussa Dembele in the summer that will be in mind when the Gers take a seat at the negotiating table.

Morelos may not have the European pedigree of the man that now leads the line for Lyon but his scoring exploits, in far poorer sides than the ones that Dembele was fortunate to be part of at Parkhead, mean the comparison is certainly not far fetched or unfair.

He is the best player in Scotland and there is arguably no team in the Premiership that is as reliant on their key man as Rangers are.

The new contact that Morelos signed on Friday has an expiry date in the summer of 2023 but Gers fans are realistic enough to know there is no chance of him hanging around until then. In all likelihood, he will be gone in a matter of months.

Those new terms have given the 22-year-old a financial reward for his efforts once again and have strengthened Rangers’ hand considerably. Crucially, there is no release clause in the deal.

So the equation is straightforward in the summer. If Rangers’ valuation is met and they are happy with a deal, then Morelos leaves. If not, Steven Gerrard has his man for at least another half season.

A host of clubs have already been linked with a move for the forward and further international exposure with Colombia, now managed by Carlos Quieroz, will only increase his profile and his value.

Whenever he leaves, he will do so with the well wishes of a fan base that have taken him to their hearts, for whom the positives in his play and his character far outweigh the negatives his detractors focus on.

Nobody at Ibrox will begrudge him a move and the chance to increase his wages several times over as he prepares to take the next step in a career of risks and rewards.

Having left his homeland aged just 20 to chase his dream in Europe, he has made a name for himself with Rangers on the back of a £1million move from HJK Helsinki.

His journey from the small town of Cereté in northern Colombia has allowed his talent to flourish and develop and, sooner rather than later, he will take the next step.

The model of buy low and sell high is one that Rangers have to master and the sale of Morelos will give Gerrard funds to play with this summer. Replacing him will be easier said than done, though.


NO matter what Rangers achieve, if anything, in the final weeks of the season there will need to be another influx of new arrivals at Ibrox come the summer transfer window.

One of those deals – the one which brought Glen Kamara from Dundee six months early – already looks like smart business for Steven Gerrard and the midfielder has more than justified the £50,000 fee that was paid in January.

Jordan Jones will move on a Bosman from Kilmarnock, while a deal for Motherwell winger Jake Hastie is also in the pipeline. Talk of a pre-contract deal for Graeme Shinnie has intensified once again recently and it would be no surprise if the Aberdeen captain was playing in Light Blue next term.

Many supporters may not be sold on the prospect of acquiring players from fellow Premiership clubs and will be expecting higher calibre, and costlier, signings once the wheeling and dealing really begins.

There are no guarantees that Premiership professionals will have the kind of impact required to take Rangers to title glory, but they are decent, cost-effective ways of adding to and freshening up the squad before the bigger buys arrive.

It is a route that Celtic have regularly gone down and while there has certainly been a handful of failures – the likes of Scott Allan and Nadir Ciftci stand out in that regard – the deal for Stuart Armstrong paid instant dividends and Scott Bain and Ryan Christie have proven their worth this season.

Building a Premiership select won’t turn Rangers into champions but Gerrard will need the signings from Scotland to step up a level and play their part next term.