The first real ‘summer of change’ hit home with reality yesterday as Michael Beale confirmed the longest-serving Rangers player, aside James Tavernier and Ryan Jack, in the form of Alfredo Morelos, is leaving Ibrox this summer.
This really is set up to be a huge window at Ibrox, given we already have effectively a completely new board, with an especially positive move in making James Bisgrove the CEO.
But clearly not only does more need done, but more is being done, and the Colombian has been a part of the fabric of Ibrox since summer 2017, becoming arguably the most divisive player in Rangers’ history.
Is that a fair statement to make? That Morelos is the most controversial player Rangers have ever had?
Yes, we remember how divisive Josh Windass was back in the day, and Tavernier himself has split opinion too, but Morelos really has got under Rangers’ fans’ skin (and the media) in a way few others ever did. And certainly not for this long.
Why does he split and divide and cause such controversy?
In himself he never did anything ‘bad’ per se, the problem was the early red cards he got for the first three years. The number of times he let himself, his team-mates and the fans down became incalculable, and while he grew up a wee bit and they became less, the replacement controversy became his own heart.
Or the lack of.
It’s as if his growing up and stopping being a petulant wee sod on the pitch as much castrated his ability, and his hunger and grit seemed to hugely reduce. He just stopped working as hard, and that was compounded by the infamous Lille bid which got rejected.
But the big one? It was the incessant chat about wanting to play in the Premier League. From January 2018 he started ranting on repeatedly in the press about his ambition, and here we are five years later and he’s still at Ibrox.
He may get his dream this summer, and it’ll be hard not to root for him in some ways if he moves there because he’s sort of one of us, being at Ibrox for so long, but at the same time he never did embrace our club at all. Never learned our language.
He lost his best mate Danny Candeias as well, which didn’t help him, and lost him his main translator in Govan. He was kind of left on his own after the exit of the last embers of the failed Pedro experiment.
And it would be inaccurate to say he’s wanted away since then – he’s wanted the Premier League for half a decade so it’s nothing new.
The problem with Morelos is he just didn’t show our club or our fans the love at all. He never liked this country, or embraced anything about Rangers. He tolerated us while waiting for what he really wanted. And threw a massive strop when he lost his moves to Lille and Porto.
We briefly saw how good he actually can be in 2019/2020, and quite honestly at his best he’s a world class striker, but when that move to Ligue 1 caved, he exited the building himself.
So don’t be surprised if he’s a top performer for his next club – he will crave a top 5 league, especially the Premier League, and if he gets it, don’t be shocked if he does not half bad.
But for us, he’s been gone a long time.
The big question is why did we keep selecting him…