By Alex Stevens
Arsenal are one of a number of leading clubs running the rule over Rangers wonderkid Billy Gilmour, according to a report.
The Daily Record claim the Gunners have joined Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea in scouting the 15-year-old, who has been dubbed a player in the mould of Andres Iniesta.
It is said that Barcelona also sent their top youth talent spotter to watch the youngster play for Scotland under-16s six weeks ago.
He made the trip to the Oriam in Edinburgh exclusively to run the rule over the playmaker in a game against France, which the Scots lost 4-0.
The Record report that, despite the scoreline, the Barcelona scout was impressed by the Ayrshire schoolboy – and returned to the capital earlier this week to take another look at Gilmour playing for his country in the Victory Shield.
He was joined by a representative of Bayern Munich, as well as a clutch of top English clubs.
“Sadly, Scotland has produced only two standout kids in recent years – Islam Feruz and Darren Fletcher,” a source told the Daily Record. “Now Rangers have Billy Gilmour and Celtic are developing Karamoko Dembele and the top clubs all want them.
“Barcelona came to watch just Billy in the game against France and see him as a player in the Xavi or Iniesta mould in terms of his size and technical ability.
“It’s going to be very difficult for Rangers to hold onto him beyond the end of the season, when he turns 16. The top sides from abroad can offer money beyond the reach of Rangers and Celtic.”
Rangers could net as little as £100,000 in compensation for Gilmour if he moves next year when the FIFA rules allow approaches to be made by other clubs.
Celtic could face a similar challenge in keeping 13-year-old Dembele at the club beyond his 16th birthday, with the London-born youngster also being tracked by every major club in Europe.
In other Rangers transfer news, this emerging star is being watched by many elite Premier League clubs.