Arthur Numan reckons Rangers must resist any temptation to sell Alfredo Morelos as the striker is their biggest asset in the fight to stop Celtic winning nine-in-a-row.
The Colombian striker has netted 29 times for Steven Gerrard’s team in this campaign, and that has led to interest from clubs in England and abroad.
But his ability has often been overshadowed by his indiscipline, and he has received five red cards this season, one of which was rescinded.
That has resulted in him sitting out over 10 games through suspension, including the League Cup semi-final defeat against Aberdeen.
The player’s fiery temper may have consequences for his market value – as Gers legend Ally McCoist recently suggested – and see the Ibrox club struggle to reach their valuation, which is in the region of £14-million.
But Numan is adamant that any bid must be rejected to give his former team the best possible chance to win the SPFL title in 2020.
The Dutchman told The Sunday Post: “Alfredo recently signed an extension to his contract, and that was good business by the club.
“It keeps the player happy as he earns a more lucrative salary, and it also gives the Ibrox board a stronger position if they are in negotiations with interested parties.
“The key to it all, as is the case with every transfer, is the fee on offer.
“Is it enough to tempt the selling club into allowing the player to leave?
“At the moment, it is not easy to put a price on Alfredo. Due to his temper and red cards, it will put an element of doubt in mind of a buying club.
“They will think twice.
“But when the Rangers board and Steven Gerrard are weighing up the full situation, they will need to assess whether any bid is big enough for them to sell.
“Is the offer enough to allow the manager a rebuild of the squad, and bring in the two or three top-quality players that the squad still needs?
“Or do they stick with Morelos, in the belief that his ability to score goals outweighs any negativity?
“My view is that they keep the player for one more year.
“For obvious reasons, next season is absolutely massive. When you have a player in your team that is capable of scoring 30 goals, you do everything you can to keep that player.
“How do replace a 30-goal-a-season striker? Not very easily.
“But Morelos must also be made aware that he has to behave on the park.
“Had he not been suspended so often this season, then he would have hit 34 or 35 goals, easily.
“The way he loses his temper on the park and retaliates in certain situations is not acceptable. He cannot allow himself to be provoked so easily.
“He needs to show greater self-control and maturity. Yes, he can score goals for sure, but you need to show the full package.
“I’m sure Steven Gerrard has had conversations with Alfredo, and his team-mates will have as well.
“They will have also told him that it is no good him leaving them a man down in big games against the likes of Aberdeen and Celtic, and then spending the next three or four games sitting in the stand.
“It has happened too often, and Morelos must calm down. He has a lot of making up to do and next season would be the perfect time.
“As a footballer, he is talented and is developing well. He has scored some brilliant goals and there are many more to come, I’m sure.”
Numan – who played a huge part in the Treble successes of 1999 and 2003 at Ibrox – wants nothing more than to see his former club end their title drought.
The last time Rangers won the Premiership was back in 2011 under Walter Smith.
Numan, now one of the main scouts at Dutch outfit, AZ Alkmaar, added: “I get back to Scotland as often as I can and try to see Rangers.
“I’m still made to feel very welcome by the supporters, and it’s very humbling to know I have a place in their hearts.
“For five years, I had the privilege of playing for the club, and now I am a supporter.
“So my feelings are exactly the same as the 50,000 who go to the stadium every week – I want us to win the League.
“Yes, it will not be easy. For many years, Celtic have been successful. They have built a strong squad and also have financial power.
“But this is something that Rangers can overturn. It is achievable. The belief must be there, and the attitude must be positive from the management and the squad.
“I think there has been improvement under Steven Gerrard, and the fact that Rangers defeated Celtic at Ibrox shows it’s going in the right direction.
“I also think Rangers would have won the last Old Firm game at Parkhead had it stayed 11 against 11, and Morelos had not been sent off.
“So, it’s about doing it over 38 games.
“It’s not enough to do well in three out of four games. It has to be every week.
“That’s the target.”