Rangers are poised to hand Alfredo Morelos a new contract to ward off late interest from *three* clubs in France.
The 22-year-old yesterday earned his first call-up to the senior Colombian national squad for forthcoming friendlies against Argentina and Venezuela.
And Sportsmail understands the Ibrox club could now be forced to repel offers for the striker from Ligue 1 before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Alfredo Morelos will be rewarded with a new contract at Ibrox after good early-season form
Bordeaux had an offer of £3.75million plus add-ons rejected two weeks ago, with Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard dismissing the bid as ‘derisory’.
But Morelos remains on their radar, despite the club still searching for a head coach after Thierry Henry turned the job down, while two other top-flight French clubs are also interested in the bustling forward.
Gerrard has warned it will take a ‘massive, massive’ bid to lure the former HJK Helsinki player away from Ibrox. Rangers play the second leg of their Europa League play-off against Ufa in Russia tomorrow night – and time is running out for prospective bidders to beat the deadline if they want Morelos.
The striker, who has six goals in ten appearances this season, was handed a pay rise in March following a bid from Chinese side Beijing Renhe. The price of hanging on to him will be another new contract.
Urging the Ibrox board to prioritise the matter, Gerrard said last week: ‘I hope the club realise the importance of the player. In an ideal situation, we stick by him and renew his contract.’
Rangers are also working to bring players into the squad. Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall and Osijek winger Eros Grezda were both poised for medicals at the club. Grezda still requires a work permit ahead of his £2m move while Worrall will finalise a season-long loan deal before Friday’s deadline.
The England Under-21s defender has slipped to fifth choice centre-back at the City Ground after the club’s £20m summer spending spree, with Gerrard assuring opposite number Aitor Karanka that the 21-year-old will see plenty of game time.
Steven Gerrard is still keen to add to his Rangers squad before the transfer deadline
Gerrard meantime has urged his players to embrace the responsibility of landing Rangers a £6million Europa League pay-out.
They travel to Russia holding a 1-0 advantage thanks to defender Connor Goldson’s goal last week.
Progression would guarantee European football until Christmas for the first time since 2010 and provide a significant financial boost when prize money, coefficient shares and gate receipts are collated.
Gerrard knows what a place in the group stage would mean and believes his team will be driven by the chance to land some glamorous opponents.
‘That is the carrot and that is what we present to them,’ he said. ‘A lot of these players that I have brought in, when you speak to them, European football is what they want and that is the stage they want for their own individual careers.
‘We all know how important it is for the club financially so it is big for everyone connected to Rangers and we need to show that in our performance.
‘We need to play like a big team, one capable of handling that kind of pressure and responsibility.
‘How much could the finances help me? They are questions you would have to ask the board, but it is my job to try and win as many football matches as I can and try and get as much success as we can.
‘Qualifying for the Europa League is success because it comes with big rewards financially, but also it is great for the supporters and great for the players to play on that stage.’
Gerrard expects to still be without Lassana Coulibaly for the test inside the Neftyanik Stadium.
The Malian midfielder hasn’t featured since the 2-0 win over St Mirren on August 12.
‘He’s very doubtful,’ admitted Gerrard. ‘It is a thigh injury but it has come with a bit more complications than we originally thought.
‘The physio and doctor are doing everything they possibly can to get him back as quickly and as safely as we can but he is a big doubt for Thursday.
‘I am sure it is disappointing for him because the worst thing you can be as a player is injured.
‘It is a lonely place in the gym doing the hours on your own and in the treatment room because you want to be with the team and helping out on the park.
‘I am sure he is frustrated and disappointed at the moment, and so am I, because he started so well and I want him available so I can pick him.’
Lassana Coulibaly will miss the vital Europa League qualifying second leg against FC Ufa