Sports

Aribo joins Southampton on four-year deal

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor, Abuja

  • Bids Rangers fans farewell

Rangers midfielder, Joe Aribo, has joined the English Premier League side, Southampton on a four-year deal after weeks of speculation over his future.

Aribo, who was in top form in the first phase of last season’s campaign for the Scottish top-tier side and scored in the final against Eintracht Frankfurt, finally committed to joining the Saints in a deal reportedly about £6m which is due to rise on add-ons to about £10m.

According to reports, the midfielder has one year left on his contract but his zeal to explore new challenges has seen him boycotting a move to extend his stay at Ibrox for a return to the English Premier League. Aside from Southampton, Crystal Palace was also reported to be on the trail of the Super Eagle, who scored 26 goals in 148 appearances for Giovanni van Bronkhorst’s side before he officially joined the Saints on 9 July, 2022.

In a statement by Ralph Hasenhutti, Southampton boss, he acknowledged that Aribo is a player of many qualities, adding that the club is pleased to have him in the team. “Joe is a player with many qualities to his game, and we are very excited to welcome him to the squad in time for the pre-season trip to Austria,” he said.

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“We believe Joe can bring energy and creativity to our side. Feeling comfortable in so many different positions is very helpful for a manager and shows he has a high level of football intelligence, with the ability to take on new information quickly.

“He has played a lot of games already in his career, at a very high level, and his performances in the Europa League prove he has the quality to play in the Premier League. This is a big ambition for him, and he is hungry to show everybody he can do it,” Hasenhutti added.

Following the return to England, Aribo praised the Saints which he conceded has a rich footballing history. “It’s an amazing club with a lot of history here, and it’s a good plan for what’s to come next. I’m really excited about the journey,” he said. “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,” Aribo added.

However, the Super Eagle bade farewell to the Rangers’ fans after completing the deal to join Southampton. “It has been an amazing journey being part of this special club, I hold Rangers very close to my heart as they gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent on a bigger stage. Playing at Ibrox was a dream and I am glad I got to experience it,”

Aribo tweeted. “I’m happy I was able to play a part in the historic 55 league title-winning season. I’d like to thank everyone associated with this great club for all you’ve done for me during my time here, you’ve always made me feel welcome and I’ve always had your full support.

“I’ve developed into an even better player, credit to the supporters who always had my back and stayed patient during the tough times. We created a lot of memories together, memories that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my career. “I wish the club nothing but the best for the future and I’ll always be checking in Joe Aribo,” he said.

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