Steven Gerrard has told Alfredo Morelos to keep his focus on Rangers after insisting Lille are “nowhere near” striking a deal for the Ibrox top scorer.
The French outfit have reportedly agreed personal terms with the Colombian and, having failed with an opening £13million bid, are now understood to be preparing a fresh offer.
But with nothing presently on the table, Gerrard confirmed Morelos will be in the squad which travels north for Saturday’s Scottish Premiership curtain-raiser with Aberdeen.
And the Ibrox boss is keen to ensure his star striker’s sights are set only downing the Dons as the Light Blues attempt to put the brakes on Celtic’s push for 10 in a row.
Gerrard – who confirmed Steven Davis and Jermain Defoe will miss the Pittodrie clash through injury – said: “I think this will work itself out if there is a bid that’s big enough, that the board want to accept, we’ll make that decision when it comes.
“At the moment we’re nowhere near that so Alfredo is still a Rangers player.
“He needs to focus on that and continue contributing goals like he always has done for the last two years.
“At the moment I don’t want to add to much noise to it because we’ve got a game on Saturday. That’s the most important thing right now, not ins and outs. The important thing is three points at Aberdeen.
“There’s nothing to report on him in terms of his situation. He’s focused, training well and available for tomorrow.
“Whether he’ll start or not, you’ll find out 75 minutes before kick-off.
“At the moment, he needs to block the noise out and focus on the game in front of us.”
Gers are looking for a fee closer to £20million for a player who has scored 77 goals in 137 games since arriving in Glasgow three years ago.
And Gerrard expects to have a say when the time comes to weigh up an offer for the 24-year-old.
“It is in my hands and it is in my control,” said the former Liverpool skipper. “But it will be a collective decision when we sit down to analyse any bids that we receive for any player.
“But what I can assure you is that the board are not pushing anyone out the door or putting me under pressure to sell.
“At a club like Rangers I think you’ve always got to be prepared if someone does leave to be able to replace them.
“One thing for sure is that since I walked in the door, the board have always been on the same page in terms of trying to make this XI and this squad as strong as we can to compete. I don’t think that’ll change.”
Gers have as usual been linked with a long list of players this summer, with South Africa international midfielder Bongani Zungu the latest rumoured to be on his way to Ibrox.
And Gerrard hopes to have good news on the recruitment front soon, saying: “We’re close. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a new Rangers player in the coming days.”
The Gers manager watched his former club celebrate their first league triumph in 30 years and admits the Anfield success has fired him up all the more as he looks to finally end the Light Blues’ long wait for their own 55th domestic title.
But he shied away from making any bold declarations that his side will definitely pip Celtic to the flag.
“It’s a bit early to be saying stuff and creating headlines,” he said. “For me the focus is Aberdeen and trying to hit the ground running.
“It goes without saying how happy I was for everyone at Liverpool and it was great to see.
“But I’m at Rangers and my challenge is to make us as successful as we can.
“Every time I see success in sport, then I think it does whet your appetite and get the hairs on your neck standing up because you want to be successful too of course.”