Glasgow Rangers manager Steven Gerrard must give Jermain Defoe the time to shine at Ibrox amid reports Lille remain interested in Alfredo Morelos.
According to The Daily Record, the French Ligue 1 side could return for Morelos in January after Luis Campos came out victorious in a power struggle at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
The transfer guru was widely credited as being the brains behind the operation as Lille sort to prise the Colombia international away from the Light Blues in the summer.
It’s claimed that Rangers reportedly rebuffed a £16.5m bid for Morelos despite the fact the Colombian striker had already agreed personal terms with the Ligue 1 club.
Whilst Gerrard has a wealth of attacking talent at his disposal, having signed Cedric Itten and Kemar Roofe on four-year-deals for an undisclosed fee in the summer, it’s fair to say that they are both a league below the former England international, who scored his 300th goal in his club career in the 2-0 win over Livingston in the Scottish Premiership.
Defoe, described as “unbelievable” by Marlon Harewood in an exclusive interview with FFC, has hinted that he could be called into action against Aberdeen at the Govan stadium as he posted a picture on Instagram of himself working hard to maintain his fitness with a recovery session in an ice bath at the training centre.
The Ibrox boss has afforded the 38-year-old just 169 minutes of Premiership football and he has been left on the bench for the majority of the season so far, whilst he was also axed from the Europa League squad to make room for Bongani Zungu.
It’s notable that Defoe has still scored two goals and supplied two assists in four games for the Gers in all competitions so far this season, despite struggling to regain a spot in Gerrard’s plans, but his hard-working attitude shows that the Rangers manager may have to reconsider his strategy.
Gerrard surely must realise that he has to give the veteran the time to shine on a regular basis as he has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon which will enable him to mentor some of the younger players of the squad like the Swiss international to help him to settle to life at Ibrox.
If this is indeed his swansong, as it’s hard to deny the fact that he has entered the twilight of his career, then the Gers must squeeze some more juice from the lemon.
Gerrard has often spoken admirably about his ability when the £1.2m-rated monster has featured for the first team previously, telling The Daily Record in October: “I think it’s fantastic to have so many options. It’s the first time I’ve had this luxury and this volume of strikers available.
“Jermain has had quite a few injuries of late when he was playing too much so he’s certainly a player we need to manage and bring in and out at the right time. He understands that.
“It was a good performance from him at the weekend with a world class goal so he’s finally in the place this season where we have wanted him for a long time. So he’s ready and I know he’s ready.”
However, chances have continued to be few and far between since those comments, although the former Tottenham Hotspur striker started against Hamilton Academical, registering an assist as Rangers ran riot over the Accies in a dominant display at home before the international break.
In his past two appearances, he has scored one goal and supplied one assist, whilst he is averaging 1.5 shots per game in the Premiership, via WhoScored. By comparison, Itten has only mustered 1.2 shots per league game, as per WhoScored.
If the Gers are to regain the title for the first time since the 2010/11 season, we suspect that Defoe will still have a part to play – if he is given such an opportunity, of course. What better way for him to send Gerrard a timely reminder than by unleashing him against Aberdeen?
The timing surely couldn’t be any better, especially when you consider the fact that Morelos has only just returned from international duty with Colombia with a long flight back from South America. Defoe fully fit and firing on all cylinders could be a force to be reckoned with.