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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has warned Alfredo Morelos and other key players that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.
And Gerrard has told potential suitors that they will have to pay top dollar to prise Morelos and the likes of James Tavernier and Connor Goldson from Ibrox.
Morelos has netted in seven consecutive Premiership matches and is looking to equal his 18-goal Rangers haul from last season when the league leaders host Aberdeen tomorrow night.
And Gerrard is determined to hang on to his top goalscorer after seeing the 22-year-old Colombian go from strength to strength since he took over in the summer.
“I think it’s down to Alfredo,” Gerrard said. “He’s the one who has done all the hard work, he’s the one who’s got himself in better condition. He’s got himself fitter, stronger. I think he looks better, he looks sharper. So he deserves all the credit.
“As a coaching staff we have just tried to guide him, give him the right love at times, push him at the right times. All my staff are available for every single player in the squad. The office never closes, that’s our job, to support all the players.
“We have given him the support and guidance but he deserves all the credit for pushing himself. In pre-season he pushed himself to the limit and the max every single session.
“People are saying he’s in a great place. The biggest thing for me is he’s smiling, he’s enjoying his training, he’s enjoying being in the dressing room. The players love having him here.
“Not just for Alfredo, for all our top players who are linked with other clubs, they have to realise what they have got here. They’re at a fantastic club, the fans adore them.
“I know sometimes it’s inviting to look over the fence and look around to maybe see if there’s something out there better, but realise what you’ve got here.
“Alfredo and Tav and Goldson, they are our top players. For any club looking over our fence, if you want our top players, you have to come with top, top money. That’s the only message I will ever say on any of my top players.”
Then Rangers manager Graeme Murty felt Morelos suffered a dip in form during last season’s winter transfer window amid reports of bids from China.
And Gerrard has told the striker to be ready to handle more speculation.
“He has to be, so do all the other players,” Gerrard said. “They have to be ready.”
Gerrard dismissed suggestions Rangers were over-reliant on Morelos for goals but he admits he is keen to add firepower.
His comments that Rangers have only had a “recognised striker” for 12 minutes in two games against Aberdeen this season were further evidence that on-loan Roma player Umar Sadiq — who started against the Dons at Hampden — is destined for a January exit.
Gerrard added: “It’s an area of the squad which we will hopefully add to very soon, but isn’t every team reliant on their number nine?
“There’s nothing concrete at the moment. We are trying to identify people at the top end of the pitch, that’s all I can comment on right now.”
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