Rangers scouted Oscar Gloukh last year and the now-Red Bull Salzburg starlet admits that La Liga giants Barcelona tried to sign him too, speaking to Forbes Israel.

Make no mistake, Gloukh is in good hands at Salzburg.

Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane, Dominik Szoboszlai, Brenden Aaronson and more all graduated with honours from one of Europe’s most famed finishing schools, and arguably the greatest talent to emergence out of Israel over last 20 years is now hoping to complete a PHD in playmaking at the Austrian champions too.

FC Red Bull Salzburg v GAK - Friendly Match
Photo by Andreas Schaad – FC Red Bull Salzburg/FC Red Bull Salzburg via Getty Images

Mick Beale’s Rangers miss out on Oscar Gloukh

Rangers, according to the Scottish Sun, scouted Gloukh during last summer’s U19 European Championships. They were not alone.

Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund and even Old Firm rivals Celtic were also linked at some point over the last six months or so, Salzburg eventually fighting off considerable competition while agreeing a £6 million fee with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Gloukh is a boyhood Real Madrid fanatic. But, putting those allegiances to one side, the 18-year-old wonderkid admits that the chance to follow in the footsteps of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Pedri and Gavi at the Camp Nou would have been difficult to turn down.

“I was very excited because Barca wanted me,” Gloukh explains. “But they arrived late in the race and, in the end, it couldn’t be.

“Barca arrived when we already had everything agreed with Salzburg. (Moving to Austria) was the best option for me, and we did it. In the end, I am convinced that we made the right decision to go with them and not Barcelona.

“It makes more sense as a player.”

Will he emulate Erling Haaland at Salzburg?

Gloukh, labelled ‘one of the greatest talents in Europe’ and a ‘very special’ footballer, scored four goals and set up eight more in his final 17 league games for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He’s featured five times already since joining Salzburg a few weeks ago too, including during both legs of the UEFA Europa League last-32 clash with Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

“If a club signs him and takes him on as a project, then there’s a chance of success. Gloukh is something special,” Israel legend Gil Vermouth explains. “After (former Liverpool and West Ham ace) Yossi Benayoun, I do not remember such a player (from Israel).”

“The greatest talent of Israeli football today is, of course, Oscar Gloch,” adds Luis Vicente Matteo, who had a spell coaching with Maccabi Haifa.

“He is not only one of the greatest talents in Israel. He is one of the greatest talents in Europe. (Gloukh) showed that he can play at a high level at Maccabi Tel Aviv. But he needs to take the next step to continue his development and raise his level.

“If he stayed for two or three years in Maccabi Tel Aviv, he could disappear. In Europe, it is easier to take the next step.”

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