Scout Report – Joe Aribo: Rangers’ new signing
According to the London Evening Standard, Rangersare on the verge of completing the signing of Joe Aribo from Charlton Athletic on a free transfer, with the report claiming that the 22-year-old is set to undergo a medical at Ibrox.
London Evening Standard understands that Aribo, who is out of contract at Charlton at the end of this month, is set to meet up with Steven Gerrard and the Rangers squad at their pre-season training camp in Portugal.
The 22-year-old turned down offers from various Championship and Premier League sides, as well as the chance to sign a new deal at Charlton, to move north of the border, with the prospect of playing at Ibrox under former Liverpool captain Gerrard playing a big part in his decision. (h/t Evening Standard)
Aribo played a key role for the Addicks in League One this past season and was one of driving forces behind their promotion-winning campaign, as the 22-year-old contributed with 9 goals and 5 assists in 36 appearances to propel Lee Bowyer’s side to the Championship via the playoffs.
Charlton were desperate to secure his future with a new long-term deal but the interest from so many top clubs, coupled with the riches on offer elsewhere, was always going to tempt the promising youngster to depart The Valley.
Meanwhile, Rangers have already completed the signing of six new players and Aribo’s imminent arrival is set to make that seven for the summer.
They haven’t spent a fortune, though, with four out of those six signings -Steven Davis, Jordan Jones, Jake Hastie and Greg Stewart, all coming through the door as free transfers, while Sheyi Ojo has joined on loan from Liverpool.
The acquisition of Aribo is expected to add a lot of steel, depth and quality to Gerrard’s options in the middle of the park, although it remains to be seen what kind of a role the manager has in mind for the youngster next season.
The 22-year-old has been at the centre of a lot of transfer speculation this summer and he will be under pressure to live up to that hype when he makes his debut for the Gers next term.
As Aribo gets ready to complete a move to Ibrox, let us take a closer look at his background, strengths and weaknesses. Here is a detailed scout report on the 22-year-old midfielder.
Born in Camberwell, London, Aribo started playing at the youth ranks of Isthmian League Premier Division club Staines Town, winning the club’s Academy Player of the Year award back in April 2014.
He joined Charlton Athletic in the Championship in September 2015 following a successful trial and put pen to paper on a new deal in May 2016.
Aribo made his first-team debut for the Addicks against Crawley Town in an EFL Trophy group stage game back in October 2016 before earning his League One debut in the same season.
The youngster made 19 appearances for Charlton in the league in his breakthrough season and impressed with as many as 6 assists before establishing himself as one of the regulars in the 2017-18 campaign.
Aribo featured on 26 occasions for the Addicks in League One in the 2017-18 season and contributed with 5 goals and 2 assists, earning rave reviews for his performances in the process.
The 22-year-old made a total of 97 appearances for Charlton Athletic in all competitions over the course of three seasons, accumulating 16 goals and 15 assists.
Style of Play, Strengths and Weaknesses
Essentially a central midfielder by trade, Aribo shares a lot of similarities in traits with former Man City and Barcelona enforcer Yaya Toure.
Noted for his pace, power, drive and determination, the 22-year-old is capable of playing in multiple positions in the middle of the park, having featured in attacking midfield, box-to-box, defensive and wide roles for Charlton Athletic.
Standing at 1.83m with a towering and well-built frame, Aribo looks like a real athlete when he runs forward or challenges for the ball on the pitch, with his physicality being one of his key attributes.
An agile, energetic and tough-tackling presence in the middle, the youngster combines his raw power with his sharpness, anticipation and positioning skills to break up the play and win possession back for his team with crucial tackles and interceptions.
Blessed with plenty of upper body strength and good balance, Aribo hardly ever goes to ground after dispossessing the opposition and always looks for an opportunity to release the ball forward quickly in order to set up a brisk counter-attack.
The 22-year-old is not only a ball-winner in the middle of the park but he also plays the role of a ball carrier- driving forward with pace and aggressiveness and often picking out the right passes to create goalscoring chances.
He is not only about pace and power, though, with his dribbling skills, speed of thought, presence of mind and well-rounded shooting ability making him a more complete player.
To add to that, he is also adept at holding on to the ball in the midfield and in tight areas along the sidelines, using his physicality to ride past challenges and always making an attempt to bring his skills and technical abilities on the ball into play to retain possession.
Aribo not only excels with his range of passing and ability to switch the play but he also shows a lot of willingness to get inside the box, which is exactly the reason why bags a lot of goals and assists.
A tireless worker on and off the ball, the 22-year-old covers almost every blade of grass on the pitch and is capable of shouldering both defensive and attacking responsibilities effectively.
Coming to his weaknesses, one has to consider that all his success so far has come in the third-tier of English football. That’s not to undermine his talent and potential, though, and it is definitely worth mentioning that he is still in the developmental phase of his career.
He tends to misplace the odd pass or two in the midfield and occasionally ends up getting behind the ball or scuffs his finishes in front of goal, but those things are pretty normal for a player of his age.
It is not difficult to see why the prospect of a move to Rangers tempted Joe Aribo to the extent that he decided to further his development north of the border.
The lure of European football, coupled with the charismatic presence of Steven Gerrard at the helm of affairs and the chance to play for one of the most adored clubs in Scotland, probably prompted the 22-year-old to turn down other offers.
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However, it is worth mentioning here that Rangers will be expected to challenge Old Firm rivals Celtic for the domestic title next season, meaning that Aribo has to prove himself to Gerrard and earn his place in the team.
The 22-year-old will need to work on removing the rough edges in his game and few would back against him making a big impression at Ibrox in the years to come if he continues his development down the right path.