Graeme Murty maintained the final decision on any potential sale of Alfredo Morelos will be his as he sought to quell any talk of a departure for the Colombian striker following Rangers’ 3-0 Scottish Cup victory at Fraserburgh.
The Ibrox manager cast doubt on suggestions that Chinese club Beijing Renhe had made a £7 million offer for the striker, with the window in that country not closing for another month. Morelos was left on the bench for last night’s fourth-round tie, but Murty said this had nothing to do with the speculation over his future. However, he conceded the striker had been affected by suggestions a ten-fold salary increase was waiting for him in China were Rangers to allow him to move on only six months after he arrived in Scotland in a £1.5m deal from HJK Helsinki.
“It would take me okaying it for him to be sold,” said the Rangers manager. “So if he’s sold, it means I’ve okayed it. Other than that, he won’t be going anywhere. He is confused at the minute because there are figures being bandied around that would turn anyone’s head. How real they are, I’m not sure. It’s almost designed to confuse and unsettle.
“We have to make sure Alfredo understands our position because we are not trying to derail anything for him, we are just trying to take care of him and the club at the same time. We just have to make sure he understands our position that we want him here with us.
“We have talked about his ultimate aims and desires, I feel he has the capacity to be an international player for his country. He can do that by being the top scorer in Scotland and building on his game. I honestly believe we can enhance him and do that here. There is no reason for him to be frustrated, he is still a young man. He has been a pleasure to work with the whole time, he’s not been disruptive – there has been none of that. He’s not expressed a desire to leave, we have conveyed our feelings to him and he’s conveyed his feelings to us. It’s down to us, me and the club, to make sure he feels loved by us and respected by us.”
Five senior players were recruited during the window, after £600,000 was paid to Hamilton for Greg Docherty, and loan deals brought Jamie Murphy, Russell Martin and Sean Goss to the club.
Murty stressed that such strengthening would be undermined by losing the Premiership’s top scorer.
“Obviously the transfer window [in China] closes later than ours but we have to protect our squad and the positive feeling we have,” he said. “The message I have had is that I don’t need to sell anyone for any economic imperative.
“I have to make a football decision based on us closing the gap at the top and being competitive in every competition we’re in. I’ve made that decision, I want Alfredo to be here. Unless we can go out and spend any money that comes in to strengthen us and make us better it makes no sense to have economic pleasure in the short-term but then weaken our challenge in the long-term. We want to challenge and try to make up, we want to build a squad to compete at the highest level.”