First, a disclaimer; FCSB’s always-outspoken president, Gigi Becali, has quite a reputation for exaggeration. 

This is a man who called Romania international Florinel Coman the second coming of Neymar. A man who said one-time Everton target Octavian Popescu ‘reminds me of Cristiano Ronaldo’ while valuing the youngster at a staggering £125 million. 

Becali’s headline-grabbing assessment of Olimpiu Morutan, then, should maybe be taken not so much with a pinch of salt but with a McDonald’s supply of sodium.

“He’s an extremely talented footballer. He looks a lot like (Lionel) Messi,” Becali said. “He is very technical and fast.”  

AC Pisa v AS Cittadella - Italian Serie B
Photo by Gabriele Masotti/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Rangers like Galatasaray forward Olimpiu Morutan

Now, in Becali’s defence, we can see where he is coming from. Morutan, after all, is a diminutive, snake-hipped winger who loves to cut in from the left onto his surgical right boot. His jinking stride and dynamic dribbling are also reminiscent of the Barcelona legend. Morutan’s statistics makes for rather impressive viewing too. He scored eight times and set up a staggering 15 more during the 2020/21 season at Becali’s FCSB, earning himself a big move to Galatasaray. 

And, since joining Serie B outfit Pisa on loan, Morutan has scored six and set up seven more; averaging a goal contribution every other game in Italy while catching the eye of a certain World Cup winner.

“Morutan is surprising only those who didn’t know him,” Pisa president Giovanni Corrado tells La Repubblica. “I met Andrea Pirlo who coaches in Turkey (with Fatih Karagumruk). And he told me that we had signed a phenomenon.” 

Andra Pirlo is a huge fan

But what does this all have to do with Rangers? Well, according to Fotomac, the Gers made an approach to sign Morutan from Galatasaray during the January transfer window 14 months ago. The Turkish Super Lig leaders blocked his departure at the time. But, with Morutan falling down the pecking order since then, any approaches will be received with an open mind this summer. 

Morutan, Sabah say, is available for £5 million. It remains to be seen if that fee is a little rich for Rangers’ blood. Especially with so many other areas in need of reinforcement. But Morutan, an attacking midfielder who can also play on the right, is one of those rare players who’s arrival could immediately take Mick Beale’s side to a whole new level.

An upgrade on Scott Wright and Rabbi Matondo. And a potential replacement for Malik Tillman should the Bayern Munich loanee return to Germany. 

Morutan might not be Rangers’ answer to Lionel Messi. But he could be a signing capable of cutting the gap between themselves and Old Firm rivals Celtic at the top of the table.

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