Former Barcelona attacking midfielder and Galatasaray star Arda Turan sensationally once declared an interest in joining Rangers – according to former Ibrox Academy director Tommy Wilson.
Wilson claims that 33-year-old Turan – who has also played for Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in a high-profile career – inquired to him as a youth about the prospect of turning out for the Gers.
Turan came through the youth ranks at Galatasaray as a kid and is now back home and getting ready to face Rangers next week.
But according to Wilson, had the Turkey international had it his way at the U-19s European Championships in 2006, he may well have ended up at Ibrox earlier in his career.
“I’ll never forget that conversation. He was quite direct about it too,” said Wilson [Scottish Sun].
“All the teams were staying in the same hotel in Poland, which was a little bit strange.
“I don’t know where the Rangers connection came up. He knew Rangers were a big club and he definitely had a conversation with me and Kirky about coming to Rangers.
“He spoke English, so he maybe wanted to speak English.
“Maybe he had a real interest.
“I’d have thought he’d have been more interested in going over to the Spanish team to try to ingratiate himself with them.
“I remember him being open and a boy who was easy to get on with.
“Obviously at that time you didn’t know which ones would make it all the way.
“I’ve no idea how the conversation happened, how it started or what it was about.
“I do know I’d just agreed to join Rangers and Jimmy Sinclair and I had talked to Kirky about joining us, so I think maybe Kirky was wearing two hats on that occasion.
“It would have been quite a coup for us to get a boy who eventually went on to achieve so much. What a career he’s had. He’s been absolutely superb for the clubs he’s been at.”
Turkish footballing superstar Turan started his career at the Ali Sami Yen Spor Kompleksi and his early success at Galatasaray made him the most expensive Turkish player ever in 2011.
Atletico Madrid splashed out a reported £10.9m (€12m) to bring the player to Spain where he enjoyed four successful seasons.
The attacking midfielder would then join Barcelona in a deal worth up to £37.4m (€41m) in 2015 but the player would find himself back in Turkey two seasons ago.
After a two-season loan spell at Istanbul Başakşehir, Turan returned to Galatasaray in the summer where he will now face off against Rangers at Ibrox next week in the Europa League playoff round.
Turan has also made 100 caps for the Turkish national team, scoring 17 goals.