Ibrox Noise has been noting fan reaction as Joe Aribo closes in on a move to the PL with Southampton.
It’s been infinitely more divided than we expected, which was paradoxically completely predictable.
In this new world, this post-Covid, post metoo post Brexit post BLM land of ours, collective thought has very much changed from how it once was, and opinions we never thought Rangers fans would have, they now do.
Let’s set the scene:
Aribo, like Virgil van Dijk, like Fraser Forster, like Carlos Cuellar and Nathan Patterson is leaving for a lower midtable PL side with only modest ambition of getting even a European Conference place. He’s leaving to get closer to London, his home, and to raise his level from the backwater that is the SPL.
But like Patterson and unlike Cuellar, some Rangers fans, instead of wishing him well in the Promised Land of the PL which to English players is more or less like playing in the Champions League every week, are reacting with genuine rage:
The majority of dissent centres around it being Southampton, despite the fact that it literally doesn’t matter to English players which PL side it is, it’s the league they’re moving to, not the team in particular.
The PL will ALWAYS trump the SPL – it’s not just the money, it’s facing world class players most weeks and indeed playing alongside some of them every week.
This is not Rangers being dumped for Southampton, it’s Rangers and the SPL losing out to the PL, which frankly we at Ibrox Noise have no gripe with.
But the player is getting a tonne of abuse tonight from a lot of fans for these illogical reasons. Because it’s Southampton.
Are we just going to abuse select players who leave Rangers now?
Didn’t recall anyone abusing Cedric Itten for his move to YB, no one cared a tuppence about that. But they’re flying off the handle at Aribo going to the PL.
Is it the fee?
Well the reality is Rangers aren’t wealthy and we can’t hold to ransom a side who want one of our players in the last year of his deal. He simply isn’t market value in those circumstances. Thankfully we’re not Celtic, but their one trump card is their riches, and they CAN hold out for the highest fee.
An initial £6M rising to £10M+ with addons represents decent business, but the one point some fans are making is he could have signed a new contract to get us more cash.
We have no argument against that – Morelos did it twice, and yes, Aribo knew some time ago he wanted to go home, and rejected any notion of a new deal – but could have signed one to get Rangers maximum fee.
You know what? We think highly of him, but that was him doing what was best for him, and not the club. Selfish? We won’t go that far but it was certainly self serving – and did limit Rangers to getting no more than £10M.
Aribo knew about the escape clause, and if any club met it Rangers would sell – an escape clause installed around half a year after he arrived and which he agreed to, to protect Rangers from losing him for less than that.
As it is, he didn’t sign a new deal, and simply wasn’t interested in helping the club out on that level, a club which has given him as much as he has given it.
He’s a good fellow, but he made a decision and that is within his rights to do. And Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos are in similar boats at present, unless they sign new deals.
Aribo thinks highly of the club, enough that he will always hold us dear, but not enough to protect our asset of him and ensure we got £20M+.
He didn’t want to risk losing out on a move south by them being priced out – and yes, that is self serving.
He was embattled by helping the club who gave him his career, or getting home.
What would you choose? Going home to near London and the PL, or potentially sacrificing that move to help the club you’re with instead? And don’t mull that one as a Rangers fan, but as a footballer, as Joe Aribo.
End of the day, what is done is done – he won’t get any abuse from Ibrox Noise, but as you can see, we are objective about any sales despite our own fondness for the player concerned.
We see all sides.
And that is that.