It’s time to revisit this one. We’ve held off talking about this, despite hundreds of comments encouraging us, but it’s time to revisit the signing, and increasingly controversial performances of Joe Aribo.
Now, while the Nigerian didn’t have the best start to life at Ibrox, with some ponderous slow play and a lack of apparent cohesion with the rest of the team, we were deeply impressed with his first half performance against Aberdeen.
While still hardly the Yaya Toure marauder we hope he can be, the lad worked hard, very hard, and at one point chased down a complete lost cause and STILL won the ball back off the toes of the opponent.
Aribo is a strange one – it is evident the boy has talent, and a lot of it – he doesn’t seem rushed, stressed, or fazed by the ball or the SPL, or indeed the Europa League, but equally he doesn’t seem to quite fit into Steven Gerrard’s current system.
If we look at Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack – all three of these are quick on the ball, quick in the mind, and quick with footwork to ensure the midfield transitions are rapid and incisive.
Then Aribo gets the ball. His colossal frame seems to slow down time, and while he rarely wastes a pass, it seems to take longer for him to do something than the rest.
And that is certainly an issue, tactically, with Steven Gerrard using this mammoth player in the middle.
We simply don’t know where we stand on Aribo – he’s a bit divisive, and fans seem to want to like him but the ex-Charlton lad is struggling to make that a convincing universal.
We know fine well from Borna Barisic that players can take an age to settle. The Croat literally took 15 months before he finally fit in, and he’d been doing it for his country the whole time, so we certainly want to give Aribo the same chance we probably didn’t give Barisic.
We’ve learned from that error.
But that said, in a full-strength Rangers team with the team playing quick triangles and fast interplay through the middle, we would struggle to put Aribo in there simply because he doesn’t blend with the system as well as the rest.
We feel like Aribo would thrive more in a team which played more slowly-compiled football, one which took its time on the ball and had more time. Quite honestly we wonder if the SPL is just too quick for him.
But he’s a honest player and there is talent – we just don’t know if he’s the right player for Rangers at this moment in time.
Better people than us will decide that.