Yesterday, following their latest friendly match, Sevco’s manager went in front of the media and took a shot at his own board. You may not have realised that, because the media certainly didn’t report it that way, but in fact that’s exactly what he did.
The demand was for more, and better, players. It is an old story. It is a familiar demand. Gerrard has never made a single footballer better. He is the textbook chequebook manager, believing that every problem in the game can be solved by a trip to the bank.
I had intended to write about Gerrard’s apparent belief that the club has a Magic Money tree.
But something about the way he did it was nagging at me even as I was writing that headline; what was the sudden need for such a public demand? He has, until now, expressed nothing but thanks for the support he’s had already … so what was this?
My immediate thought was that he had told them, behind the scenes, that he wanted something extra for turning down a possible move to England; we know the media has been trailing that story for weeks now and we have to assume that there was something in it.
But then today, news broke from France that Alfredo Morelos has agreed terms with Lille.
Suddenly, Gerrard’s little outburst yesterday makes perfect sense.
Suddenly it gives new credence to everything the Celtic sites have been saying since the end of the last campaign was declared.
Sevco badly needed to shift a top earner, and Morelos was always likely to be the one sold.
In that scenario, the manager probably expects to get money, but I never believed it remotely likely that they would get a massive fee for him nor that the manager would get very much of it to spend if they did.
Now I may be wrong on both counts … I’ll be writing a piece later on why getting, and spending, £20 million would be a momentous risk for everyone at Ibrox.
Before that, let’s deal in reality.
Whatever they get, they may throw Gerrard some scratch, for appearances sake, but he won’t be getting a kitty in the tens of millions, no matter what Mad Dog goes for.
Rumours stalk the internet about fees … some as low as £6 million and some as high as the £20 million their fans said should be the starting price.
Odd that they should be so delighted to get that, should the Lille board have gone mad and authorised such a thing.
The truth will probably be somewhere in the middle; if they get eight figures for him it’s decent business considering we’re talking about a player here with huge limitations, in character, temperament and consistency.
That’s beyond market value for a player who has scored one goal since the turn of the year and looked, in pre-season, about as disinterested as it was possible to.
We’ll probably never know; this will almost certainly be an “undisclosed fee” and neither side will want to trumpet the actual number, for various reasons.
It’s not the only thing that will remain undisclosed, as least for a while.
One of the great unexplored stories here – because we have a dreadful media which doesn’t want to know – is that of the breakdown in the relationship between Morelos and Gerrard, something the hacks simply do not want to acknowledge, although it remains a known fact by everyone in Glasgow whose job is to be able to read the grapevine and intuit which stories are true and which are complete cobblers.
His being dropped against Hearts is only one public manifestation of it … the player believes he got no support.
Gerrard believes he got no loyalty.
For all that, he’s been the best player at the club in the last three seasons, and the goals he scores when on form will not be easily replaced. He’s a limited footballer, but so was McCoist and so was Kris Boyd and so are a lot of the others with an uncanny knack for knowing how to put the ball in the back of the net.
Sevco will miss him, of that there’s no doubt.
Gerrard knows this. Morelos’ goals were the only thing that kept him in a job last season, and he’ll know that too. There was a lot of fun to be had sniggering about how he never scored against Celtic; he played twelve times against us in all, and so that’s a pretty big indictment on his lack of bottle.
But goals against us weren’t the be-all-and-end-all of the thing … as I wrote a couple of times last season when it seemed all Sevco fans wanted in their lives was to see him break that run, the seas would not have risen nor the mountains crumbled on that day … had it been a league goal in a game they dropped points in, who would have even remembered it later?
Even Kris Boyd got one against us eventually; nobody cares.
So it’s no wonder that Gerrard was a little spikey in front of the media yesterday.
He must have known this was in the offing, and all the toing and froing today in the press has been about making it sound as if Sevco put up a fight and got closer to the fee they thought he was worth … this deal was probably done a week ago. You wonder whether Gerrard just found out.
Something was needling him yesterday, that’s for sure.
He was reacting after a game his team had won, in a week where he and others had been expressing confidence about the way ahead.
Everything about his statement just seemed off to me … in hindsight, it’s clear something had happened behind the scenes, and it stands to reason that this was it.
Gerrard now wants his cut of the transfer fee, but Sevco has been acting for months as if the world hadn’t changed, as if the global health emergency hadn’t touched them at all, and this site and others have been vocal in saying that this was not the case and that something would have to give. Morelos was always going to go in this window, and Gerrard was never likely to get more than a fraction of the fee. Now he’s fighting for a bigger chunk of it.
And he’s doing so publicly, whilst several jobs in England are unfilled. This is interesting stuff and well worth keeping an eye on. Gerrard knows how big this is and how it affects him … don’t be surprised if there are fireworks ahead in Sevconia.
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