Rangers are not engaged in talks with Lille over a transfer fee for Alfredo Morelos despite reports from France claiming the Ligue 1 club have agreed personal terms with the Colombian international striker.
The Ibrox club are aware of Lille’s interest in Morelos but The Scotsman understands it has not been encouraged and there are currently no active discussions over his potential transfer.
That may change in the coming days as Lille look to replace Nigerian international striker Victor Osimhen who is on the verge of completing a £55 million move to Napoli.
Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson has previously placed a valuation in the range of £20m for Morelos, while Lille are believed to rate the 24-year-old at around £15m.
If the transfer goes through, it would certainly smash the current record transfer fee received by Rangers which was the £9m they pocketed from the sale of Alan Hutton to Tottenham Hotspur back in 2008.
While a deal may make irresistible financial sense for Rangers, the loss of Morelos would come as a severe blow for manager Steven Gerrard ahead of the new Premiership campaign next weekend.
Gerrard is already short of options up front with his only other recognised central striker, the veteran former England international Jermain Defoe, set to miss the opening weeks of the campaign with a hamstring injury he suffered in last Wednesday’s friendly match against Motherwell at Ibrox.
The addition of a new striker was already a priority for Gerrard who has been linked with a move for Ivan Toney of Peterborough United. If Morelos is sold, Gerrard will intensify his requests to the Rangers board for reinforcements on the eve of a campaign when the pressure is on his squad to stop Celtic winning a record tenth consecutive league title.
Speaking after a 2-0 pre-season victory over Coventry on Saturday, in which Morelos played, Gerrard said: “We need more. I have told the club that. I’ve been honest and open with what I feel we need.
“In terms of where we are at from a financial point of view, they are questions for other people - but I have made it quite clear that we need to add to what we’ve got.
“We need to add players into the 11 to make us stronger and then, naturally, that will make the squad stronger. At the moment, we still need to get people in the door.”
Asked specifically about his forward line, Gerrard added: “That’s the one area that’s giving me a slight concern as we haven’t got enough numbers in that area. But we are actively looking to try to add in that area.”
Morelos joined Rangers from Finnish club HJK Helsinki for around £1m in the summer of 2017 and quickly established himself as a favourite with the Ibrox support.
Although bedevilled by disciplinary problems, Morelos has been a prolific and effective leader of the line for Rangers. He has scored 77 goals in 137 appearances for the club and enjoyed an exceptional Europa League campaign in 2019-20 in which he was the competition’s leading scorer with 14 goals as Rangers reached the last 16.
Morelos has been persistently linked with moves away from Rangers, who responded by giving him several improved contracts, the most recent of which is scheduled to run until the summer of 2023. But it seems that Lille believe they have persuaded him they now represent the next step in his career.
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