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Joe Aribo: Which clubs should be chasing in-form Rangers star?

2:16 AM GMT+4 25/02/2022
Joe Aribo of Nigeria and Rangers.
The Nigeria midfielder has hit his stride at club and international level, but will it prompt interest from elsewhere?

  • Rangers and Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo.

    Joe Aribo

    Coming off the back of a strong Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, midfielder Aribo clearly appears to be enjoying life in the Scottish Premiership with Glasgow Rangers.

    The 25-year-old was among Nigeria’s star performers at the Afcon—notably registering the assist for Kelechi Iheanacho in the opening victory over Egypt—and has maintained his strong form since the tournament.

    After returning to action with an assist in Rangers’ 3-3 draw at Ross County, he followed that up with another assist last week—as the Scottish giants stunned Borussia Dortmund 4-2 in the Europa League—before equalising in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Dundee United.

    As he continues to thrive for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side, eliminating Dortmund from the Europa League on Thursday night, expect transfer rumours concerning his future to continue to swirl…here are five clubs who may well be taking a look.

  • Ralph Hasenhuttl RB Leipzig

    Southampton

    The Saints appear to be one of the teams who are the most keen on recruiting the midfielder, and certainly, Aribo could be a good fit for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

    Southampton were understood to have scouted Aribo in December, as he featured for the final half hour in the previous fixture against Dundee United, with the club also understood to have considered him earlier in his career when he departed Charlton Athletic.

  • Steven Gerrard Aston Villa 2021-22

    Aston Villa

    A reunion with ex-Gers boss Steven Gerrard at Villa Park would make a lot of sense for both Aribo and his former coach.

    Under Gerrard’s tutelage at Ibrox, Aribo took his game to new heights, with the Liverpool great making little secret of his admiration for the 25-year-old in a series of glowing interviews.

    Former Anfield man Ray Houghton has urged Gerrard to make Aribo one of his early signings in the Midlands, but will the former Reds skipper move to sign his former protégé?

  • Nigeria and Emmanuel Dennis of Watford.

    Watford

    The Hornets clearly love Nigerian talent, with the likes of Peter Etebo, William Troost-Ekong and Emmanuel Dennis just some of the Super Eagles’ on the club’s books at the moment.

    Recent acquisitions of Samuel Kalu and Maduka Okoye point at their ongoing Nigeria-first transfer policy, even if Eagles fans aren’t particularly happy with the club’s behaviour ahead of the Nations Cup concerning the participation of Dennis.

    Any Aribo move to Vicarage Road would surely depend on whether the Hornets can remain in the division, but he could be a sterling acquisition for Roy Hodgson’s side if they do stay in the top tier.

  • Michael Olise - Crystal Palace

    Crystal Palace

    Hodgson’s former club Palace have also sought to sign Nigerian talents in recent transfer windows, with the likes of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise opting for Selhurst Park as they make the next step in their careers.

    Could Aribo be the next in line?

    He’d surely benefit from working under another iconic Prem midfielder in Patrick Vieira, while Palace’s increasingly dynamic, technical and cultured style would suit the intelligent Aribo.

    A return to London—Aribo was born in leafy Camberwell—may also appeal.

  • Joe Aribo of Nigeria and Rangers FC.

    Brentford

    Another London-based club reportedly keen on the midfielder is Brentford, who—like a few other clubs on this list—have already invested in the Super Eagles with the signing of Frank Onyeka from FC Midtjylland.

    Any potential Aribo move to Brentford would be contingent on them remaining in the top flight, but he’d surely benefit from working alongside the proactive Thomas Frank, who’s turned a team of lower-league players into a side capable of remaining in the top flight.