Wednesday 11

Aston Villa

Prolific Morelos seems ready for Premier League challenge

21st November 2019, 15:46 by Dan McCarthy

Aston Villa have become the latest team linked with a move for Alfredo Morelos - and the Rangers ace could prove to be a smart capture.

The Rangers striker has been linked with a move to the Premier League for some time now, with many clubs apparently registering an interest in the hotshot.

Crystal Place are understood to be keen, as are Leicester. And now, Aston Villa are the latest in an ever-growing list of admirers.

Dean Smith, as any manager should be when the question of transfer targets comes up, remained coy when asked if there was any truth in the link.

“He’s a player who is contracted to another football club and we aren’t a club that talks about them,” he said.

A typically understated answer, but the idea of having Morelos on board at Villa Park must have swirled around his head.

The Colombian has been a huge hit since making the move to Ibrox during the ill-fated tenure of Portuguese manager Pedro Caixinha in the summer of 2017. He joined for what has proved to be a bargain fee of just £1million from Finnish outfit HJK Helsinki and Morelos has never been out of the goals.

He has found the back of the net 70 times in 116 games and whatever anyone thinks about the standard of the Scottish Premiership, that is a very impressive record.

The 23-year-old has been improved markedly by boss Steven Gerrard and he is beginning to look like the complete striker.

Morelos tends to play up front on his own and has all the attributes to play that role – he works tirelessly, is a big physical unit, is excellent in the air, and he has the legs to be able to work the channels and bring midfield runners into play.

To top that off, he is also a lethal finisher and is fast becoming the poster boy for the Scottish top flight.

With the transfer window set to open in January, there may be a scramble for his signature, and he could prove to be a relatively cheap gamble for some Premier League clubs in England.

The fee being talked about is £20million, which is not a great deal for someone who has experience of scoring goals for fun in the Scottish Premiership and Europa League – Sheffield United paid the same for Oli McBurnie for comparison.

His disciplinary record will always be held against him – five red cards last season is clearly not acceptable – but he is the sort of player where you will have to accept some lapses to get the full package.

So many clubs in the Premier League could benefit from having Morelos.

Norwich need more than just the out-of-form Teemu Pukki. Aston Villa cannot rely on the unpredictable Wesley Moraes. Crystal Palace do not have a natural goalscorer. Nor do Southampton. And even Everton could use his finishing instincts to solve their striker issue.

Morelos is now at the point where he is outgrowing the Scottish Premiership and seems destined for a move away to a tougher league, be it in January or the summer.

He could prove to be a crafty signing for any bottom-half Premier League club. And for £20million, there could be a real battle on to land him.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Dan McCarthy is a reporter who is very knowledgeable about football at all levels, and a keen Leeds United fan. He also follows darts, snooker, motorsport, and rugby league.

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