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Sport Alfredo Morelos will snub Rangers transfer exit claims mentor Nacho Novo as he offers striker mindset insight

09:10  30 july  2021
09:10  30 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

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If it’s the summer there must be speculation over the future of Alfredo Morelos.

That’s just the way it has been since the Colombian hit these shores like a goalscoring hurricane four years ago and 2021 is no exception with Porto taking over from last season’s suitors Lille as the club casting covetous eyes over the Rangers striker.

But the 25-year-old remains a Ranger and after a summer on international duty, is back in Scotland and holed up in a hotel room quarantining. And in his absence a new arrival has made a goalscoring impact against no less a side than Real Madrid.

Fashion Sakala has made a real statement of intent but Morelos has been in this movie before. Last season, Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten arrived and Morelos, whose performances had dipped in the wake of the rejection of Lille bid, had to shake himself out of a slump to retain his place as the main man in Steven Gerrard’s forward line.

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He did that and then some. Adding aspects to his game and forcing those who believed him to be little more than a penalty box predator to change their opinion of him.

Former Rangers striker Nacho Novo, who took Morelos under his wing when he first arrived as a 21-year-old unable to speak the language, watched the South American rise to the challenge of having his place in the team under threat and has no doubt that the same will happen in this campaign - if he’s still at Ibrox when the transfer window shuts.

The Spaniard hopes that will be the case and believes that the arrival of Sakala will light a fire under Morelos, just as Roofe and Itten did last year.

He said: “Since day one at Rangers, Alfie has just got better and better and better. He is still a young player and is always learning.

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“He has never stopped scoring goals and I think he will keep trying to challenge himself and prove that he is still the main guy at Rangers.

“He’ll have seen Fashion Sakala come in and look good against Real Madrid. But he’ll only see that as a good thing for Rangers and as a personal challenge for himself. It was the same when Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten arrived at the club.

"People were saying that it would be the end for Alfredo, that his replacements had been brought in - but all it did was fire up Alfie and he is still the main man in the Rangers attack.


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“I think it will be the same this time around. Sakala looks good and as a Rangers fan, I am delighted that there is another great striker but when Alfie gets back to training, he will be looking to play as soon as possible. He will be fit because he’s been training with Colombia all summer, so the time in quarantine won’t take too much away from him.

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“He’ll be ready to fight for his jersey and I am sure Steven Gerrard will be delighted that there is so much competition for places right through his team.

“When I was a player and we signed another striker, it made me more determined to hold onto my place. I’m sure that’s what Steven Gerrard will want to see from Alfie. He doesn’t want any player just to settle. He wants them to push themselves. No player should think they are an automatic choice every week.”

Novo was delighted to see Morelos adapt his game for the good of the team last term.

He added: “His all-round game improved massively last season. He is a goalscorer and that will always be the main part of his game but last season he was much more than that. He was dropping deeper and linking the play. He kept the ball really well.

"He was pulling defenders out of position to leave gaps for players like Ryan Kent to run in behind.

“There were threats all over the pitch from Rangers and that was because Alfredo was occupying two and sometimes three defenders, which gave his team-mates space to hurt the opponent.

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“I don’t think Steven Gerrard would have been worried that he didn’t score as many goals as in the previous seasons. He still got about 20 but Alfie’s performances allowed the others to score more goals so the gaffer will be happy with that.

“Overall, his game is great. He has developed into a top striker and the exciting thing there is even more to come from him and I hope that we will see that in a Rangers jersey this season because it would be great to see him in the Champions League if we can get there.

“I don’t think Alfie has to prove himself to top clubs in Europe because his record is there for everyone to see. But obviously, if he can do as well in the Champions League as he did in the Europa League then he will attract even more attention and maybe a year from now he can move on.

“That’s a situation where everybody will win.

“He is a big, confident player. He believes in what he can do and he believes in himself. You look at him and he is more relaxed on and off the pitch. He has been at Rangers a long time now and he is settled.

“I know things can change very quickly in football and with agents involved anything can happen, but I know Alfie and I know he loves Rangers. He is passionate, he loves the atmosphere around the club and loves the fans. I honestly don’t think he is in a great hurry to move on.

“Look, the performance against Real Madrid without him was absolutely fantastic. I don’t know how many chances they created against a very good team.

“I don’t listen to people who say it wasn’t Real Madrid’s first team - you don’t play for Real Madrid unless you are a top, top player and for Rangers to dominate them as they did was incredible.

“But 100 percent, we have not seen the last of Alfredo. He will be back and up for the fight. He’s always up for the fight.”

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