IT could become the long goodbye. If that situation transpires, it will not be the fond farewell that it should have been for Alfredo Morelos.

Morelos heading out the Ibrox exit door on a free transfer would be a bitter end in financial terms for Rangers. In a solely sporting sense, there would be more than a tinge of regret as well.

There have been few players that have done the rounds on the rumour mill and been touted for a move quite like Morelos. The coming weeks will finally determine if that moment is going to arrive sooner or later.

If there was one man who was going to lead the agenda ahead of Michael Beale’s first Premiership fixture as boss, it was destined to be Morelos. He is, after all, the player that has been spoken about more often than any other over the years and all the talk is focused on his future now that he is in the final stages of his contract.

Ross Wilson, the sporting director, has defended his position and the stance of the Ibrox board but it is not a good look for Rangers to find themselves in this predicament with two of their key assets.

Wilson insisted that the situations of Morelos and Ryan Kent were ‘very, very different’ when asked about their futures at Beale’s first press conference as manager.

And he stuck to that line when the issue was raised at the Annual General Meeting last week. It was one which saw his standing and his track record come under scrutiny from the floor as supporters continue to query the processes that are in place in terms of scouting, recruitment and, in this instance, management of contracts.

It looked like fans were going to be left with more questions than answers. Step forward Douglas Park.

The chairman hadn’t exactly been a man of many words throughout the AGM but an unprompted intervention provided more insight than Wilson had offered. Wilson addressed the thought process behind Rangers not looking to offload Kent and Morelos in the summer before Park said: "Can I just add that the board have tried to negotiate with those players.

"There comes a stage, like in any negotiation, where you try to settle. If the terms that maybe people are looking for are unattainable, you sometimes have to accept that you have done your best."

Just a few minutes beforehand, Wilson had reaffirmed the ‘willingness’ from boss Beale to have Morelos and Kent ‘part of Rangers moving forward' but there was an admission that time would tell if they were able to get two deals over the line. The longer the i’s are not dotted and the t’s are not crossed, the more supporters will believe they are seeing the last of two players who have been such key members of the Ibrox squad.

Kent would be the bigger loss of the two. Signed for £7million from Liverpool, it would be a huge failure in a business sense if Rangers were to fail to recoup a penny for a player that was once the subject of a sizeable approach from Leeds United.

His form right now would not earn him a Premier League move. He is capable of reaching that level on his day, but those moments have been few and far between in recent times and it remains to be seen if Beale can unlock the best of the winger once again.

If he can, then Rangers will have a hugely talented player on their hands as Kent enters the prime of his career. Only he will know whether he wants to spend those years at Ibrox or not.

Morelos has the same question to answer. It is one that has been asked on more than one occasion over the years and the Colombian will ultimately have the final say.

There have been times when managers have pondered whether they could live with Morelos and others when fans asked if Rangers could live without him. It could now time for supporters to face up to that scenario.

Morelos has made his name at Ibrox. If he leaves, he will do so as the club's top scorer in European competition and a Premiership winner, a man who became a hero but not a legend as mistakes on and off the park undermined a stint that could, and should, have been so much more illustrious than successful than it has been.

Players like Morelos are signed to be sold on. Five years in one place is not part of the progression plan for a career and is ultimately no use for Rangers when lucrative deals are run down as multi-million-pound transfers are missed out on.

Morelos has seen his influence wane once again this term. He is a shadow of the striker that dominated Europa League defences during Steven Gerrard’s reign and the latest round of headlines created by his fitness and mentality issues earlier this term were another example of him pressing the self-destruct button.

Rangers cannot afford to be at the mercy of a player like that any longer. Morelos can be the best in Scotland, and one of the most effective at a certain level in Europe, when he is fit, firing and focused.

But those times have become increasingly fleeting and it would be a considerable leap of faith for Rangers to back him with another long-term contract on even bigger money. Right now, the risk outweighs the reward and Rangers have taken enough chances on Morelos over the years.

Sanctioning another deal would be a significant call from Beale. He has spoken warmly about Morelos the man, but he will be as aware as anyone about the gamble he would be taking by putting his trust in the forward.

Right now, it would be difficult for many fans to do just that once again. Morelos may be bargaining over his contract terms, but his hand is weaker now than it has been previously.

All good things must come to an end. It feels like Morelos and Rangers have run their course together and a parting of ways, with thanks for the memories, is now best for both.