Alfredo Morelos: an enigma, or simply underrated?
The second highest scorer in the SPL, the subject of a mega-money bid from China and one of the key lynchpins in a drastically improved Rangers side.
Yet despite the above, there appears to be a disproportionately large amount of criticism about the impact El Buffalo has had this campaign, and his ability in general.
Morelos missed a couple of gilt-edged chances in the 0-0 draw against Celtic before the New Year and was chastised by columnists for his profligacy. In the same match, Scott Sinclair missed two sitters of his own but was spared the denunciation. Strange.
History, unfortunately for Morelos, seemed to repeat itself at the weekend as his glaring miss cost the Gers a share of the spoils in the latest Old Firm derby.
For whatever reason, it seems to be fashionable to denigrate the wider achievements of the Colombian despite playing in an unfamiliar country at just 21 years of age.
The fact of the matter is, all strikers miss chances. Some more than others, obviously, but the scoring charts don’t lie.
This time last year, Moussa Dembele was hailed as the oracle by the same journalists now hammering Morelos. Some write-ups even suggested he might be worth £30m, and was being coveted by clubs like Barcelona – somewhat laughably.
Dembele finished last season with 17 goals in the Scottish Premiership. Morelos has bagged 13 in the league so far this term, and so is on course to match, if not emulate, the Frenchman’s tally.
Of course, football has never been as straightforward as simply dissecting stats but they do at least paint a picture.
The circumstances of Dembele last season, and Morelos this season, were also vaguely similar. Both were in the early stages of their careers, relatively unproven but able to score goals with much regularity since making the move north of the border.
So why has the Rangers man been denied the same plaudits that have been afforded to players with similar records elsewhere?
An obvious starting point is the biased media that subsists in Scotland. It’s very rare to come across an impartial viewpoint as far as the ‘big two’ are concerned, and that undoubtedly skews perceptions. You’re either the best thing since sliced bread, or dreadful – there is no in between.
In Morelos’ case, the truth is actually probably somewhere in the middle.
While far from the finished article, the South American has certainly done enough to justify a degree of praise. Yet, by and large, this has not really materialised.
Assessing his performances and contribution this campaign must also be qualified by the fact that he has been playing football, non-stop, since early last year.
If rumours are to be believed, Morelos is on the cusp of a first national team call-up, so he’s clearly doing something right.
Given the plethora of attacking options available to Colombia boss Jose Pekerman – including the likes of Radamel Falcao and Carlos Bacca – that would be no mean feat.
In fact, apart from the occasional bout of wastefulness in front of goal, it’s difficult to present a case for Morelos having an underwhelming start to his career in Glasgow.
He’s not the best forward to have worn the famous blue jersey; not even close. But he deserves a great deal more respect than has been shown so far.