Rangers played masterclass with Nigerian midfielder, Aribo

Glasgow Rangers have had their fair share of gaffes and successes in the transfer market over the years, as they have failed to get the best out of players and unearthed gems in recent transfer windows, writes

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has only had two windows in charge at Ibrox, but may already feel like he has brought in a star or two in Antonio Colak and Rabbi Matondo, whilst the likes of Ben Davies, Malik Tillman, and Ridvan Yilmaz, among others, still have more to offer.

His predecessor, Steven Gerrard, enjoyed a host of successful windows during his time at Rangers, as he snapped up the likes of Ryan Kent, Calvin Bassey, and Ianis Hagi.

Another diamond the current Aston Villa boss unearthed was central midfielder, Joe Aribo, who he signed from Charlton in the summer of 2019. He was out of contract with the League One outfit but Rangers had to pay a compensation fee of £300k due to his age.

At the time of the move, Gerrard claimed that the dynamo had interest from Premier League and Championship clubs in England, which means that the Gers fought hard to win the race for his signature.

The midfielder did not take long to settle into life at Ibrox, as he made 49 appearances in all competitions during his first year at the club, including 27 in the Premiership.

He then played 42 matches, with 30 coming in the Scottish top-flight, in the 2020/21 campaign as Rangers won the title under Gerrard.

Ezri Konsa previously claimed that the ex-Liverpool midfielder played a huge role in Aribo’s development, saying: “Having Gerrard as his manager at Rangers, that has made him go up another level.

“Joe’s style is unique. When I was with him at Charlton, he did remind me for a while of a left-footed Yaya Toure. But you don’t get a lot of midfielders like Joe, there aren’t many around.

“Like Toure, for a tall guy he’s got such great feet. But that languid style he’s got is actually fairly unique in the game.”

The English manager left Glasgow in November of the 2021/22 season, but Aribo’s form did not falter as he adapted to van Bronckhorst’s style of play and remained a key member of the squad.

He ended the campaign with a whopping 57 appearances in all competitions as the Dutch head coach continually relied upon him throughout the year. Aribo scored nine goals and provided ten assists from midfield as he caught the eye on the pitch which meant that he ended his third season at Rangers with 26 goals and 25 assists in 148 matches in total.

The Nigerian phenomenon was rarely injured and was a consistent performer for Gerrard and van Bronckhorst over those three years, which earned him a move to Southampton in the summer just gone for a fee rising to £10m.

Rangers got three years of excellent service from Aribo on the pitch and then raked in a whopping £9.7 million profit on the initial £300k they paid for him, which means that it was a masterclass of a deal from a footballing and financial perspective.

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