Steven Gerrard warns Leeds, Lille over interest in Rangers pair

Alfredo Morelos, Borna Barisic

Steven Gerrard has warned clubs chasing Rangers’ top stars that he does not need to sell to balance the books at Ibrox.

Gerrard completed a double swoop earlier this week when he reinforced his striking options. Both Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten arrived in a costly double deal.

But that immediately sparked speculation Lille target Alfredo Morelos would finally be allowed to complete his move.

Gerrard admitted on Thursday that the Colombian’s head had been turned by the interest.

In addition, Leeds United are also thought to have registered an interest full-back Borna Barisic.

It was reported that Rangers had forked out a combined £8.5million for Roofe and Itten.

Gerrard, however, insists those figures are way above the sums Rangers have actually paid for their new strike force.

He also dismissed suggestions he is under pressure to offload his star men to cover the cost of his summer spree. Gers have also brought in Leon Balogun, Calvin Bassey and Jon McLaughlin. Ianis Hagi’s loan move has been made permanent, too.

He said: “The numbers for Kemar and Cedric that have been suggested in the media aren’t right. The figures suggested are inflated.

“I’ve said before we’re still looking to add another player in the engine room but there’s nothing to report as of yet. We’re always looking to strengthen but the majority of our business is done.


“The important thing to know is that along with myself, the board wants this team to get stronger. We want to have the best possible chance to compete on all fronts.

“I’m under no immense pressure to move people out.

“But I am trying to shorten the squad and get people back playing football.

“I know we’re going to receive bids for some of our players. But sitting here right now I haven’t received a bid that I’m happy with for any of our players. So we move along with what we’ve got.”

Itten is likely to be involved against St Mirren on Sunday as Rangers return to Ibrox. It will be their first competitive home fixture there since March.

Roofe is short on fitness so may have to wait until next weekend’s trip to Livingston to make his bow.


Gerrard happy with defensive options

But Gerrard is pleased to see his defensive options bolstered after Filip Helander impressed on his first appearance since suffering a problematic foot injury in December’s Betfred Cup final.

The Swede managed the full 90 minutes of Thursday night’s Europa League defeat by Bayer Leverkusen and will now compete with Balogun to partner Connor Goldson against the Buddies.

“We have some really strong options at centre-half now and we should have those all over the pitch,” said Gerrard. “That’s what playing for Rangers should be about.

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“Filip’s performance on Thursday night was no surprise but he still did ever so well having not played for so long.

“I thought he used his experience, put his body on the line with some really important blocks. He was partnered very well by Connor Goldson and the pair of them looked really good.

“With Filip back now and alongside Leon Balogun and George Edmundson, we’ve got four strong options at centre-back.”

St Mirren have strengthened at the back too this summer after signing former Rangers goalkeeper Jak Alnwick and defenders Joe Shaughnessy, Richard Tait and Marcus Fraser.

Gerrard said: “We know they’ll be organised, we know they will set us the challenge of trying to break them down and force the issue.

“But they are challenges we welcome. We started well last week at Aberdeen and now we want to build on that.”