Why would you want to sign a player who got more red cards this season than there were at the entire World Cup last year?
Reports in recent days have claimed we’re interested in Rangers hothead Alfredo Morelos, and that we’re prepared to launch a £20m bid for the striker. It all sounds crazy, and I’m not just talking about the 22-year-old’s disciplinary record either. But perhaps there’s a logic to the madness, and Morelos’ maverick ways could be the X-factor needed at St James’ Park.
According to Colombian publication Don Balon (via the Daily Record), Rafa Benitez wants to bring Morelos to the Premier League, and that if our proposed takeover goes through, signing him will become a ‘key objective’ for us. The forward has been vocal about his desire to play in major European league, and mentioned that a possible move to English football could be on the cards for him in the future.
The naysayers will point to his five red cards and 16 yellows this season, and his constant letting down of his teammates in key games as reason enough for us to look elsewhere for striker targets; but at 22, he has room to mature, and under the guidance of a respected manager like Benitez, could be the kind of guidance and mentorship that could see him thrive.
Because ultimately, what he offers on the pitch, is an explosiveness that has been missing from our attack for years. Salomon Rondon was brilliant for us, and linked up well with the likes of Miguel Almiron and Ayoze Perez in the second-half of the season. But he’s not a striker about to do things on his own. He relies on good service into him, and despite his 11 goals in the Premier League, is not the most clinical of finishers.
Morelos, on the other hand, has been lethal. The Colombian marksman had a remarkable second season in Scotland, firing in 30 goals in just 48 appearances across all competitions. Indeed, the striker showed that he can bring the best out of the others around him too, laying off a further 11 assists. He can fashion out chances and opportunities for himself, and has shown a versatility in being able to thrive off the counter-attack and when Steven Gerrard’s side are in possession too.
The likes of Eric Cantona, Paolo Di Canio amongst others always had a mean streak in them, but were able to harness that energy and passion into something positive for their sides. If Morelos was to undergo that same kind of progression at St James’ Park, then he could be one of the most devastating strikers we’ve had since Alan Shearer.