Rangers manager Graeme Murty last night backed the ambition of Alfredo Morelos to play in the English Premier League but insists it will take a “barrowload of cash” for the striker to be allowed to move this season.
The 21-year-old Colombian scored his 13th goal of the season as Rangers beat Aberdeen 2-0 at Ibrox to leapfrog their opponents into second place in the Premiership.
The strike came on the day Morelos revealed to a TV station in his homeland that he would welcome a move to England in the summer.
After the match, Murty had no issue with Morelos’ comments but maintained he was determined to hold on to the player Rangers signed on a three-year contract from HJK Helsinki last summer.
Mury said: “Unless someone walks in with a barrowload of cash – and it would have to be a big barrowload – Alfredo will be a Rangers player. But I want players who have aspirations to be in a better place. Hopefully he can get better at Rangers. But we know the big prize is to play in the Premier League in England. You can safeguard your family’s future with one move. If we have someone good enough to go there, it’s fantastic for us as club.”
It was a satisfying night for Murty, who saw January signings Russell Martin, Sean Goss, Jamie Murphy and Jason Cummings all make their debuts.
Rangers expect to welcome their fifth new recruit of the transfer window today, with Hamilton last night accepting a £650,000 offer for midfielder Greg Docherty.
“It’s another bit of business for another young hungry player desperate to enhance our group,” added Murty.
“When you see the new players gelling and the improvements we’ve made, it’s an exciting time for players – and for me as a manager. I want to manage people who are hungry to improve.
“It’s a fantastic three points for us tonight. It pushes us up the table and you saw glimpses of the team we are hoping to be.
“At times our movement was slick and our passing was crisp. The new guys who came in gave us a lift.
“We are just at the start of what could be a very satisfying journey.”
Danny Wilson, who has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer in the USA with his contract expiring at the end of this season, was left out of the Rangers squad last night. However, Murty still hopes to retain both Wilson and his fellow central defender David Bates, who is also out of contract in June. “We’ve talked to David and his representatives and we’re also in talks with Danny,” said Murty. “Danny has other options. But until those things are tied up, they will remain in-house.”
Another disappointing result for Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes against Rangers was compounded by an injury to goalkeeper Joe Lewis, sustained in conceding the penalty which James Tavernier converted to make it 2-0.
“Joe is on his way to hospital,” said McInnes. “It is a potentially serious injury but we will just let the experts do their job.
“We clearly have a fight for second place in the league. Rangers have made good signings but we fell short of our level tonight. But we can still finish second.”