Alfredo Morelos’ contract is up at the end of the season, and the way things are looking currently, he will likely leave the club. There has been much speculation on who could replace Morelos in the summer. Rangers signed Croatian international Antonio Colak from Greek side PAOK FC for a fee of £1.8 million plus add-ons. While on loan at Malmo, Colak scored twice against the Ibrox club to knock them out of the Champions League in 2021.
The 29-year-old has been one of the Light Blues’ better signings from the 2022 summer transfer window scoring 17 goals in 36 appearances, and is the top goalscorer at the club, hitting the net every 83 minutes. Since Michael Beale was appointed manager, Colak has struggled with injuries and to be a regular in the starting 11 due to Morelos keeping him out of the team. However, after the defeat in the League Cup final to Celtic, Colak has started the last four games and has got two goals in the last four games, with the two coming against Hibernian at Easter Road.
Beale was singing the praises of the former Rijeka man and has been impressed with his contribution to the team. He said: “He’s just got natural enthusiasm. He goes and presses and works for his teammates. He is part of the team. “He has not been able to show me what he has because he got injured before I came in, and he has been playing bit parts here and there.
“His whole game is not all about scoring goals, though. Some of his link play and movement were excellent. He’s infectious in terms of his energy. The last few weeks, he has started to look really fit, and his personality has come out in the group. I am delighted for him.”
Colak and Morelos are two different players – Morelos’ game is based around holding the ball, linking up play, and bringing other players into the game, which suits his manager’s system perfectly of high-tempo possession-based football. Colak is a poacher and a more clinical finisher in the 6-yard box, but he can easily vanish out of the game if he doesn’t receive any service.
Speaking after Rangers’ 3-0 victory against Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup, Beale said he wants to see more from Morelos: “Alfredo had the shirt, he was the only striker fit, and he did very well, and I think in the last 14 games he’s got seven goals and five assists, so there’s the one thing, he has performed. He’s training really well in the background, but I like Tony’s energy I put Tony in midweek and I thought he and Fashion were fantastic. They had a contrasting game today.”
Former Rangers player Alan Hutton said it’s a must for the Ibrox club to bring a replacement in for Morelos, who looks all but set to leave to explore other options in the summer. Hutton said: “I think if Morelos goes he will definitely have to bring somebody in, there is not getting away from that.
“I think that is a must. Colak has done ever so well, and he has had to bide his time, having a little injury, Morelos coming in and actually doing well for a period of time. Whenever he comes in, he scores goals, makes things happen. If Morelos goes he will have to bring somebody in but Colak is a very good option.”
I believe Colak is a good player, and he will get you goals but in terms of fitting into Beale’s system, he is not the answer. Morelos is going to be incredibly difficult for Rangers to replace. He has already cemented his legacy for the Light Blues as the club’s record goal scorer in Europe. The competition to be Rangers man up front between Morelos and Colak for the remainder of the season will be interesting.
By: Scott Bradley / @ScottBradleyX
Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Mark Scates – SNS Group