Sunday, August 14, 2022

In-Demand Rangers Star Closing In On A Premier League Transfer: Blow For The Gers

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Pratyay Maitra
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If a report from The Athletic is believed to be true, Southampton are in talks with Rangers star Joe Aribo over a potential summer transfer. The versatile Nigerian is in talks with another unnamed outfit, but his suitors must meet the £10m release clause to secure his service.

It’s indeed a massive blow for the Gers who have been heavily reliant on the 25-year-old since his summer switch back in 2019. Steven Gerrard’s influence saw Aribo completing a Bosman move upon his contract expiration at Charlton Athletic, however, the Light Blues must not stand in his way this summer with his current deal set to expire in 2023.

Rangers are well equipped in the centre of the pitch despite not making Aaron Ramsey’s loan move permanent. Steven Davis and Scott Arfield have penned contract extensions, whereas the likes of John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, James Sands and Glen Kamara are already there to occupy the midfield slots. Yet they would miss the ex-Addicks playmaker for obvious reasons.

Rangers midfield star Joe Aribo in action
LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Joe Aribo of Rangers celebrates after he scores his team’s second goal during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Livingston FC and Rangers FC at 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 (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Why Rangers Would Find It Difficult To Replace Aribo

Aribo, preferably a ‘number 8’, excelled last season in an advanced midfield role. He also featured as a ‘False 9’ in both the Europa League and Scottish Cup finals amid the injury woes of Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe. The Super Eagles international has operated from the right on quite a few occasions and the Glasgow giants, therefore, would find it difficult to replace his versatility before the window is slammed shut.

Celtic, the champions of Scotland, are aggressively pursuing new signings this summer. But the Gers have mostly been quiet so far barring a few contract renewals along with former Hearts centre-back John Souttar’s arrival on a Bosman. They are reportedly closing in on PAOK misfit Antonio Colak to strengthen themselves high up the pitch and the spending spree must continue if Aribo parts ways for Premier League.

Meanwhile, the rise of Alex Lowry through the academy ranks is a massive boost for the Light Blues. The teenage sensation has impressed as a ‘number 10’ in limited minutes and gaffer Giovanni van Bronckhorst should play him in the forthcoming campaign. Ianis Hagi is working on regaining his fitness after a season-ending knee injury picked up earlier this year and the Glasgow giants should be ready to reclaim the lost crown once they rope in some new faces in due course of time. Having said that, the exit of Aribo is a significant setback in their battle for silverware.

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