As Joe Aribo puts the finishing touches on his move to St Mary’s, Ibrox Noise are taking an in-depth look at his contribution, given what a massive part of the club he was for three seasons.
The Nigerian international, who became the player he is today thanks to Steven Gerrard, GVB and Rangers, is seen as a big loss by many and a good signing for Southampton.
But the truth is perhaps a little different.
One reader put it well – he blows hot and cold, and while the lad has all the attributes to rise to the very top, it’s worth remembering that our very own Greg Docherty actually matched him for stats in League One, with Gerrard infinitely preferring the man at Charlton.
Docherty’s numbers at Shrewsbury, where he was played as an AM, were 10 goals, 11 assists in 50, while Aribo that same season was 10 goals, 5 assists in 39.
So Aribo’s stats have never been remarkable – either that or Greg Docherty was criminally underrated…
The stat we want to look at today is one that is actually pretty staggering, and may show exactly Aribo’s limitations and the level to which he needs to step up if he’s to ‘go onto better things’ as many expect of his time in Southampton.
The stat is the number of goals Aribo scored in last season’s Europa League. Looking back on our epic run you’d be forgiven for thinking he played a major contribution in that area.
You’d be very wrong. Aribo’s goal in the final was the only goal he scored in 17 UEL outings. Sure, the one he scored was memorable, but that a playmaker and attacking midfielder like he only scored once in 17 UEL outings (including qualifying) shows he has a lot to work on to become the complete player.
For assists, it’s not much better – 3 in total. It’s ok, but certainly not one to crow about.
Now, the reason we’re pointing this out is it’s pretty fair to say the UEL is a huge leap up from the SPL, and equal to about midtable to upper midtable of the PL in England.
And that’s the level Joe will be playing at every week.
We will be absolutely fascinated to see if he makes the step up in England that he maybe didn’t to the extent we hoped for in Scotland.
He surely does have a gear or two to go up, and next season is the time for him to show he can be a world class player.
Because he’s not there yet, by a long shot.