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Rangers and Nigeria’s Aribo can play in the Premier League but decision ‘is up to him’ – Obileye

08:37 IST 20/12/2021
Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo of Rangers FC.
The 27-year-old defender praises the in-form midfielder saying he has all the qualities required to play in the England's top tier

Livingston defender Ayo Obileye believes Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo has enough qualities to play in the Premier League.

The 25-year-old Aribo, who turns out for Nigeria’s Super Eagles, has been the key player for the Gers so far this campaign managing to score six goals from 19 appearances in the Scottish Premiership.

His performances have reportedly attracted interest from Premier League clubs, with Brentford, Watford, and Crystal Palace being mentioned as possible destinations.

Obileye, who was invited to play for Nigeria U23, and features in the same league as Aribo, has heaped praise on the midfielder for the tremendous work he has done since arriving at the champions and further said he has what it takes to play in the Premier League.

“Joe is a great player. When I was with him at Charlton Athletic you got to see the potential he has and I'm happy he's showing it on the big stage,” Obileye said as quoted by allnigeriasoccer.com.

“The ball is in his court to decide whether he wants to stay at Rangers for a few more years or move to the Premier League.

“I think he could play in the Premier League but that decision is up to him.”

Aribo’s contribution has helped Rangers maintain their lead at the top of the table, seven points above second-placed Celtic, and in a recent interview, the player, who also has two assists to his credit, discussed his goal scoring form.

“It is funny because in training I just kick balls in the air. A lot of boys do,” Aribo said.

“I was lucky to control it, bring it down and I slipped in Fash [Fashion Sakala] after that. I was happy to be able to do that.

“I am just playing freely. I don’t know [what has brought the strength out in the last few weeks] to be honest. I am just playing freely and I am thankful to God for my talents.”

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has remained optimistic that Aribo will extend his stay at Ibrox with his current deal set to expire in June 2023.

“If you play really well of course you have interest in your players,” the former Arsenal defender said in a recent interview.

“I want to have my players performing really well, when they do that with a club like Rangers then interest will come. But of course, we will look into the contracts as well.

“They [Aribo and Kent] are two important parts of the team and I’m very positive about them. I think the club is also very positive about them as well.

“Eventually when you’re both happy you can sign a new deal. We have to see in the coming months how we progress with them.”

Aribo is among the players Rangers will miss when the Africa Cup of Nations finals start in Cameroon next month.

Others are Super Eagles defenders Calvin Bassey and Leon Balogun.