We really aren’t fans of being critical of Rangers players. While we’ve been harsh on the likes of James Tavernier and Connor Goldson, we don’t want to be – we want to praise all the players all of the time. But we are fans and we have our views and opinions and call them as we honestly see them.
And we’d also like to add a massive caveat of the “Borna Barisic Fallacy” which suggests that an underperforming player can take as long as 15+ months to actually settle at a new team, before becoming a truly exceptional talent and showing everyone why we signed him.
Because that caveat is what we’re pinning on summer signing Joe Aribo’s back.
We’ve had a number of players this season immune to any criticism at all – Morelos, McGregor, Barisic, Katic – you name it, there’s plenty of them. They’ve just had outstanding seasons and few have had a bad word to say about their performances.
But we really do wonder how long it’ll be in Aribo’s case before he starts to perform like the player we believe him to be.
Borna Barisic, for example, admitted his slow start was due to lack of pre-season, but Aribo doesn’t really have that excuse having joined up with the training camp in June, so we don’t really want to go there.
His problem is he’s been too quiet, and strangely immobile for a player whose strengths are supposed to be scoring goals and supporting the attack.
Unlike the Jacks, Davises and even Kamaras, Aribo just isn’t adding a lot. He does provide moments of quality, no denying it – we can see the talent now and again.
But we can’t understand why he doesn’t assert himself more – why for such a big lad with the physique of a Yaya Toure or Patrick Vieira he lacks such authority and physique.
He just doesn’t imprint himself on matches in the way any of the other midfielders do.
It’s not so much we want to be wrong about Aribo, because we can see there is potential there – now and again he does drive, he does show some deft touches, and he has some excellent vision to link up.
But there’s a passiveness about him that we’d love to see gone in place of an assertive arrogance.
At this point we’re not exactly sure what he’s bringing to the team or what kind of player he’s being deployed as.
We’re sure Stevie is working on helping the Nigerian international integrate with the club and the league, but these things do take time.
Just ask Barisic…