Israel’s sparkling light in a golden generation, Oscar Gloukh is now one of the most sought after teenagers in the world of football following his stunning performances at the U19 Euros. Gloukh plays week in, week out in the Israeli first division for Maccabi Tel Aviv, but on international turf against some of Europe’s brightest young stars, the 18-year-old showed that he is more than capable of competing with the best. The Israelian talisman now has a plethora of clubs chasing after his signature for the upcoming campaign, and if he finds the right fit, he could go on to become one of the best playmakers of the next generation. Here is our analysis of Oscar Gloukh after his summer of success.
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Operating as a typical ‘number 10’, Oscar Gloukh heightens the performances of those around him by taking up pockets of space to receive the ball and drive forward. He was essential to supporting build-up play for the Israel side that reached the Euro final, and exhibited his superiority in possession each and every match. Beyond build-ups, Gloukh became particularly imperative to his team’s attacking transitions this summer, striking fear into the eyes of the opposition as he utilized his mix of speed and skill to exploit opposition defenses. Further up the pitch, he even contributed three goals with two assists, proving himself more than capable of combining in the final third.Embed from Getty Images
As we’ll come to discuss, the only thing from holding Gloukh back from reaching at the top level at this moment is his lack of physical focus and intensity out of possession. But his speedy dribbling, nimble footwork, unerring passing and astute finishing should be enough for a decent-sized European club to take a punt on him this year.
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With remarkable ball control and an astounding passing range that makes him a threat any distance from goal, Gloukh made himself by far the most influential attacking player for Israel at the tournament. His quick feet far outstands any opposition, especially at the youth level, where he can dance around defenders for fun. To recover possession off Gloukh, an intelligent pressing scenario is required and even in some cases this is still not enough. France were unable to contain him in transition, as the Israeli ‘number 10’ dictated the play from deep and released his team on the break over and over. Pinpoint accuracy on his through balls and the composure to turn his man inside out helps to make the 18-year-old an absolute menace that becomes difficult to stop. The only qualm is that Gloukh needs to ensure his fanciful footwork never becomes overly predictable, prioritizing the unpredictability of his moves and never allowing the opposition to become comfortable. If he overplays the situation and tries to do it all on his own, Gloukh’s superpowers may instead go to waste.Embed from Getty Images
Nevertheless, his impressive tally of five goal involvements in five games at the Euros fails to flatter the youngster’s performances. Despite standing at a mere 5’7, Gloukh is an intimidating presence for goalkeepers, finishing off chances emphatically. His incisive passing in the final third is also backed up by his exceptional awareness of space, leading him toward a solid tally of assists this summer.
Supporting his teammates when they have the ball isn’t a must for Gloukh and you can often notice him slowly trotting about the park when the ball isn’t nearby. There’s no extra exertion to ensure he receives the ball and running in behind isn’t really viewed as his duty. Tai Abed and Ariel Lugassy can take the plaudits for the hard-work on the offensive end as Gloukh’s main duty is in the chance creation department. Every now and then, the number 10 can be found making a beneficial direct run into the 18-yard area but he tends to be the man situated just on the edge, slotting the front 3 through or sweeping up the pieces if they fail.
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Off the ball, the Israeli magician doesn’t offer quite so much wizardry. A lack of effort is often evident, and he fails to contribute a high amount of defensive numbers. Back that up by a lack of intensity and intelligence in his pressing angulations, and a natural lack of physicality, and Gloukh may not be able to be trusted out of possession.
His reading of the game is top notch and he can anticipate teammates winning the ball back all the time, readying himself for attacking transitions, but there just isn’t enough of his own individual work to say he becomes a useful defensive asset. With that being said, his importance to counter-attacking for his side mustn’t be overlooked. This lack of desire to recover the ball is translated into preparation to drive and score after his teammates do the dirty work for him, and that is in itself still valuable.
But even though we have just slated the youngster’s defensive effort, Gloukh can certainly still play his part. In terms of defensive shape, he’s more than decent at holding a line with the midfield, nearly always in central channels. His sound positioning in that regard provides him the foundations to occasionally intercept and begin the quick transition himself. But if Oscar Gloukh is to make a move to a top-tier club, he will need to improve upon his defensive work rate and pressing intensity, even as a ‘number 10’.
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As an incredibly useful option on the break, any team that prioritizes quick attacking transitions should take a glance toward Gloukh’s way. Tottenham and Rangers have already reported their interest and both could be excellent options for the midfielder to refine the defensive side of his game.Embed from Getty Images
Bayer Leverkusen would also be an excellent option, perhaps even in replacing Florian Wirtz down the road, as he inevitably leaves for pastures new. Gerardo Seoane produced one of the most lethal counter attacking structures in the world of football last season, and favours providing opportunities for young players to excel. He might not have the pressing intensity and defensive output to make the jump to Champions League football just yet, but Leverkusen among other German clubs should keep a close eye on the Israelian midfielder in the future.Embed from Getty Images
Given their history of promoting youth and developing young talent, Ajax could also be an excellent choice. The Eredivisie should provide enough time on the ball for Gloukh to express his exceptional flair and decision-making, while significantly refining his tactical knowledge. The tactical setup may not be perfect if Schreuder plays without an attacking midfielder, nonetheless de Godenzonen could more than likely find a place for the Israeli Magician.
Finally, a move to La Liga and Spain could suit the midfielder’s limited work rate, and simultaneous excellence on the ball. A slower, more technically-centred approach would benefit Gloukh as again, and he would be given more time to play the ball through for onrushing teammates than in Germany. Villarreal could be an option given Unai Emery’s defensive ideologies that promote utilizing pace and power on the break, and Real Sociedad should be looking for a long-term replacement for David Silva in their ‘number 10’ position.
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Oscar Gloukh had limited admirers before his appearances at the Under-19 European Championships, but his performances were phenomenal in turning heads and helping him achieve worldwide acclaim. Gloukh evidently has a future at the top of the game due to his outrageous technique and ability with the ball, and the right manager could help to refine his defensive resilience. The Israeli midfielder thrives in transition, and could become integral to a side that explodes on the break, such as Bayer Leverkusen. We will wait and see what happens for Oscar Gloukh and his future come the end of the summer, but at 6 million pounds, every club should be trying to secure his signature ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
So there it is! An analysis of Oscar Gloukh after his impressive performances with France at the UEFA U19 European Championships. Be sure to check out more of this series, and follow on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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