Steven Gerrard insists that Rangers are ready to replace Alfredo Morelos if the Colombian international striker is sold this summer.
Lille are poised to step up their interest in Morelos but Rangers manager Gerrard says no club has met their valuation of the 24-year-old – believed to be in the region of £20 million.
Morelos remains in the Ibrox club’s squad for their Premiership opener against Aberdeen at Pittodrie today.
The loss of his leading scorer would clearly be a setback for Gerrard as he goes into a season in which Rangers will try to prevent Celtic winning a record-breaking 10th consecutive league title.
But the former England captain is confident Rangers would be able to compensate for the departure of Morelos.
“It would be naive of us not to be ready (for that),” said Gerrard. “We are at a club where over the course of the last two years a lot of individuals have performed well.
“It’s only natural that big teams with big money will look at that. I have to accept that. But until our valuation is met, no one will be going out the door.
“It’s always about being ready. Whether it’s a forward, a midfielder, if someone comes and meets the valuation and the board are happy, then we can start the bidding. We will then look to bring someone in. The board is not pushing anyone out the door or putting pressure on me to sell.
“The reality is that no club has met the valuation for any of our players as we stand. In terms of the noise around Alfredo, we understand it because of his goal record – 77 goals in 137 games is always going to create interest in our team and players.
“But the reality is that we all need to block out the noise and focus on Aberdeen. Alfredo is training well, seems focused and will be in the squad.
“If I see any player not focused on the challenges coming up, unfortunately they won’t be able to be part of it. It’s important that he stays focused, focuses on the team and contributes on the pitch.
“There has been noise around Alfredo since the first day I walked in the door. I must have read about 20 or 30 teams being linked with Alfredo. In terms of the noise, I’m sure he’s used to it from an individual point of view. I’m certainly used to it. But my focus and his focus has to be Aberdeen.
“I’ll pick a team that I feel is capable of getting the result we need. In terms of our attacking options, I have said before that we are actively looking to strengthen that area.
“We’re close on one or two things. Hopefully in the coming days or maybe the next week we will have something to report on that.
“But as we stand, all our focus and energy needs to be on this game, the 90 minutes and the challenge at Pittodrie.
“I’ve watched Alfredo very closely this week. He is training well and pushing to start the game but we will make that decision when we need to.”
Gerrard, meanwhile, denied claims he has informed winger Jordan Jones he is no longer part of his first team plans.
“I am looking to strengthen in the forward area, but in terms of Jordan he has come back, trained hard and been focused,” said Gerrard.
“I don’t know where that noise has come from, but it certainly hasn’t come from our side. Jordan just needs to keep his head down and keep on working hard. What will be, will be.”
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