Who is Kevin Ciubotaru? Rangers prospect who walked the Joe Aribo path flies under transfer radar

It was anything but a quiet end to the transfer window at Rangers.

The late arrivals of Manchester United’s Amad Diallo and then Juventus superstar Aaron Ramsey on loan deals quite understandably hogged the headlines.

But in a deal that went largely under the radar, the club added in-demand youngster Kevin Ciubotaru to their academy ranks.

The Romanian teenager, 18, has reportedly attracted significant interest from around Europe and spent time with Rapid Vienna.

Here, Record Sport Online takes a closer look at the defender.

Who is he?

Borin in Rome in 2004, the left-back has represented Romania at youth level.

He went on-trial at Chelsea in 2019 but admitted it was a step he was not yet ready for.

Ciubotaru persisted, however, and spent time with the Kinetic Academy in England.

Rangers fans may recognize Kinetic as the youth football initiative with which Joe Aribo honed his skills before being picked up by Charlton Athletic.

Ciubotaru continued pursuing professional trials and was offered a deal by Barnet – but the youngster said it did not include accommodation and meals and he decided to decline.

A report from Romania also claims he was set to sign for Tottenham in 2020, only for work permit issues to scupper the transfer.

His Ibrox chance arose from Rangers’ initial interest in one of his Kinetic team-mates, but Ciubotaru seemingly stood out and was invited to Auchenhowie.

What kind of player is he?

Ciubotaru revealed he bases his game on AC Milan full-back Theo Hernandez.

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He said: “I think my qualities are speed, dribbling and stamina. I style myself like Theo Hernandez from Milan, although I have a lot of work to do with my right foot. I still have a lot to learn of course.”

The youngster also insisted the past few years of trials and tribulations around Europe have helped him develop a steely mentality.

He said: “All the attempts of the last two years have strengthened me fantastically for this moment of truth. I went before as a robot, mentally focused just to show the best football I’m capable of. I have no more emotions.”

What have you said about the transfer?

Ciubotaru admits he was stunned when Rangers sent him a plane ticket to Glasgow and he arrived at the club’s training base.

The Telegraph reported the club were then set to sign the teenager on a two-year deal.

Ciubotaru clearly wants to make the most of his time, though, targeting a place in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first-team as early as next season.

He also revealed a brief meeting with countryman Ianis Hagi at the club’s training base.

He told playsport.ro: “I was just shocked. I couldn’t believe it. They sent me a plane ticket, I flew to Glasgow, where I met an extraordinary club, with a superb training base, impeccable conditions and a special attention dedicated to my own development.”

Rangers are an extraordinary club, with a superb training base, impeccable conditions and a special section dedicated to their own Academy

“I just want to make the most of this incredible opportunity in my career.

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“I met Ianis Hagi and we spoke a little. He’s a very humble man, I can’t wait to train and play with him in the first team next season hopefully.

“I’m sorry he got hurt pretty badly, I understand he’ll need a few good months to recover.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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