The future of Alfredo Morelos remains unclear even despite Rangers’ success this season.
Indeed, the club are aware that the Colombian could be tempted by European offers this summer after a £16m offer from Lille was rejected in August 2020. While there is a chance he could stay of course, his form in the Europa League has attracted interest from the continent.
The Scottish champions are interested in a striker themselves. Out of contract in the summer, Middlesbrough’s Britt Assombalonga has emerged as a target though Rangers could face competition from clubs in France and Belgium for his signature as he gears up to leave Teesside.
At this stage, it’s not certain as to whether Assombalonga would be a direct replacement for Morelos but, given the interest in both, there is a possibility that they will both be playing for different clubs next season at the very least.
So, how do the two compare?
This season’s stats
It must be stressed that this has been a difficult campaign for Assombalonga.
Stripped of the captaincy and linked with a move in January, he has scored five times in nineteen starts for Boro this season, averaging 1.7 shots per game (via WhoScored) as well as 0.2 key passes over the same period.
Morelos – with the obvious caveat that some of the Scottish Premiership is said to be of a lower level of quality to that of the Championship – beats him on both fronts. Indeed, the Colombian averages 2.9 shots a game as well as 1.1 key passes, though does make fewer dribbles (0.4 to 0.5)
Last season’s stats
Perhaps looking back to Assombalonga’s output last season (a campaign in which he scored eleven times and registered two assists in thirty-five games) would make for better reading. In the context of a Boro side who scored the fewest goals in the English second tier last season (48) his direct involvements contributed towards 27% of his side’s overall total.
Based on FBRef’s statistics for last season, Morelos almost doubled Assombalonga’s output for shots on target per 90 minutes (2.42 to 0.82) though it’s important to take Rangers’ relative dominance of the ball into account.
Steven Gerrard’s side averaged 53% (via Footy Stats) in terms of possession percentage compared to Boro’s 48% so we can safely assume the Glasgow giants would generally have scope to create more chances for their attackers.
Still, even despite Assombalonga’s lack of shots on target per game, he still scored only one less than Morelos (11 to 12) at what is arguably a higher level.
Again, there’s no suggestion the Boro man would come in as a direct replacement for Morelos and, while his overall game might be more limited by way of making fewer key passes, he does appear to be someone who can finish chances when presented to him, even if they don’t come on a regular basis.
If Rangers need to replace Morelos’ goals, Assombalonga does look like a good option.
All of this season’s stats were correct going into this weekend’s games.