Rangers struck gold over “exceptional” £10m gem
This article covers a developing story. Continue to check back with us as we will be adding more information as it becomes available.
- Calvin Bassey’s impressive performances in the Europa League led to his sale for a record fee of £23m, resulting in a major profit for Rangers.
- Joe Aribo was signed by Rangers for just £300k and proved to be one of Steven Gerrard’s best signings, excelling as an attacking midfielder.
- Despite his move to Southampton not going to plan, if Aribo can secure a constant place in the team in his preferred position, he has the potential to excel in English football.
Glasgow Rangers reaped the rewards from reaching the Europa League final in 2022 as Giovanni van Bronckhorst managed to make the Ibrox side a major profit on several players who shone during the excellent run.
From defeating Borussia Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga, and RB Leipzig before finally succumbing to Eintracht Frankfurt in the final, the Light Blues performed admirably and this was due to many first team stars stepping up during the important matches.
Calvin Bassey took advantage of a defensive injury crisis to star alongside Connor Goldson at the heart of the defence, going on to make a total of 50 appearances throughout the whole 2021/22 season, up from just 14 games the term before.
This led Ajax to sign him for a fee in the region of £23m, which is the Light Blues highest ever sale, and it represented a major profit on a player who arrived just two years before.
Another player who shone in Europe that term was Joe Aribo. The Nigerian international scored the opening goal against Frankfurt and although it wasn’t enough to secure the trophy, he was impressive throughout the campaign.
How much did Rangers sign Joe Aribo for?
Following a rather underwhelming first season in charge of Rangers, Steven Gerrard spent the summer of 2019 looking to bolster his squad in a bid to challenge Celtic for Premiership glory.
The former Liverpool captain made 11 new signings that summer and Aribo was one of them, joining the Gers for a fee of just £300k from Charlton Athletic after he shone for the club during the 2018/19 campaign.
Gerrard heaped praise on him following his arrival, saying: “There were clubs in for Joe around Europe, in the Premier League and the Championship.
“He’s mobile, dynamic, can burst past a player and create and score goals. There is room for him to develop, but he’ll give us something we’ve not got in the midfield department.
“We’re confident we can turn Joe into an even better player. He’s young and we firmly believe there is a lot to come from him, but we need to be patient in order to allow him to continue his development.”
Over the next three seasons, Aribo would prove to be one of Gerrard’s finest signings during his spell as manager of the Glasgow side.
What happened to Joe Aribo?
The 27-year-old enjoyed a wonderful debut season at the club, playing 49 games across all competitions while he registered 17 goal contributions – nine goals and eight assists – under Gerrard and it looked as though the club had finally signed an attacking midfielder who could offer a genuine threat in the final third.
Another eight goals and seven assists followed in the title winning 2020/21 season as the Ibrox side won their first Premiership crown in a decade and Aribo was once again the main creative outlet for the club.
He ranked fourth across the squad for big chances created (seven) and key passes per game (1.2), while also ranking first for successful dribbles per game (1.9), clearly demonstrating his attacking abilities, emerging as a key player for the Gers in the process.
What turned out to be his final season saw the player record his highest goal and assists figures, scoring nine times while grabbing ten goals and it was his performances on the continent which soon started to attract attention from elsewhere.
In three years at Rangers, Aribo won a league title and a Scottish Cup while entering into Ibrox folklore by becoming just the fourth player in their history to score in a major European final.
Where is Joe Aribo now?
Following on from the stunning run to just their sixth ever European final, Van Bronckhorst knew his players would be in high demand.
Bassey left for the aforementioned fee of £23m and Aribo was soon the next to depart, with Southampton securing his signature for a fee which had the potential to rise to £10m and he looked happy at joining the team, saying: “It’s an amazing club with a lot of history here.
“The Premier League is the best league in the world. I’ve been watching it since I was a young boy. It’s always been a goal for me to play here and show what I can do on this stage.
“It’s an amazing feeling, a dream come true. This is where I’ve wanted to be since I was a child growing up playing, so to say that I’m here now is really exciting.”
His spell at the Saints hasn’t exactly gone to plan however, as he started just 13 Premier League matches during their disastrous campaign which saw them relegated to the Championship after a decade long stint in the top flight.
Aribo’s magic which he displayed on a regular occurrence at Ibrox failed to materialise on the South coast as he managed to score just two goals during the whole season and it looks as though his talents are being wasted at the club.
The attacking midfielder – who was lauded as “exceptional” by his Super Eagles teammate Victor Ikpeba following his goal against Brazil in 2020 – will be hoping that the Championship is a happier hunting ground during the 2023/24 season as they look to secure promotion at the first time of asking.
The Gers definitely hit the jackpot on selling Aribo for £10m, especially considering he cost mere pennies to bring to Ibrox in the first place.
It was always inevitable that he was going to depart Glasgow sooner rather than later and his performances in the Europa League obviously accelerated his eventual move to the Saints last summer.
His three-year stint at the Light Blues will be fondly remembered, but an eight figure fee for a player is always going to be difficult for a club like Rangers to turn down.
Aribo hasn’t showcased his true worth south of the border, but if he can get a constant run in the team while being deployed in his favoured position, there is no doubt the former Charlton starlet could take England by storm over the coming years.
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