Thursday, March 30, 2023

Nottingham Forest Leading The Race For This Rangers Star: A Blow For van Bronckhorst?

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Pratyay Maitra
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If a report from the Scottish Sun is believed to be true, Nottingham Forest are leading the race for Rangers midfield ace Joe Aribo. The Nigerian playmaker has also been linked with Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, but the Garibaldi have now jumped ahead of the other suitors over a potential summer transfer.

It’s been a quiet summer so far for the Europa League runners-up. The only arrival has been Hearts centre-back John Souttar, who signed a pre-contract agreement back in the winter transfer window. Connor Goldson, Allan McGregor and Steven Davis have signed new deals to extend their stay, but the Gers are sweating over the future of an array of key first-team personnel.

Rangers, on paper, are well equipped in the centre of the pitch. They have Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield, John Lundstram, Ryan Jack and James Sands, along with Davis and Aribo, among the central midfield options. Also, the likes of Charlie McCann and Alex Lowry are likely to play more after impressing last season.

Having said that, the Light Blues might face a significant crisis if Aribo departs. The Super Eagles international has been the standout performer since his move from Charlton Athletic back in the summer of 2019.

While he mostly shone as a ‘number 8’, the then-boss Steven Gerrard also deployed him from the right-hand flank. His footwork, ball-carrying attribute and creativity saw him featuring as a ‘number 10’ amid a season-ending knee injury to Ianis Hagi.

Joe Aribo in action for Rangers
LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Joe Aribo of Rangers celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Livingston FC and Rangers FC at Almondvale Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images ( and Imago Images (

Aribo had to attune to an unusual role towards the closure of the previous campaign. Giovanni van Bronckhorst fielded him as a ‘False 9’ when Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe were sidelined by injuries. He spearheaded their attack both in the Europa League and Scottish Cup finals, and the flexibility of the 25-year-old solved many problems for their Dutch gaffer.

Why Rangers Are Sweating Over Aribo’s Future

Despite a slow start, Lundstram and Jack settled in quite well as the ‘double pivot’. However, Arfield and Davis are at the twilight of their careers, whereas Sands has not done enough to secure a starting status. Kamara has been linked with a move to Brighton & Hove Albion to succeed Tottenham-bound Yves Bissouma, and the ongoing uncertainty might hit Rangers hard unless the stability is restored in the middle of the park.

Forest are back in the Premier League under the tutelage of Steve Cooper. They are desperate to maintain their top-flight existence for years to come, and with less than a year left in Aribo’s Ibrox contract, Rangers have a decision to make before the window is slammed shut.

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