Rangers’ Steven Gerrard backing Joe Aribo to grow at Ibrox after Charlton transfer

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Pic by PA.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard. Pic by PA.
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Steven Gerrard said Joe Aribo can become a better player at Ibrox after the Rangers boss finally secured the signing of the Charlton playmaker.

Aribo has been top of Gerrard’s wishlist for most of the summer and the Light Blues manager has now got his man on a four-year deal, subject to international clearance.

The highly-rated 22-year-old was targeted by Celtic at one point, as well as Premier League outfit Southampton - but Londoner Aribo has chosen to put his trust in former Liverpool skipper Gerrard.

Having watched his new recruit help drive the Addicks to promotion to the Sky Bet Championship through the play-offs, Gerrard believes even better things lie ahead.

Gerrard, whose club will have paid a compensation fee of around £300,000 to land Aribo, told RangersTV: “There were a lot of clubs in for Joe around Europe, in the Premier League and the Championship. There was a lot of interest in him, but for me it’s just another top player joining Rangers.

“He’s mobile, dynamic, can burst past a player and create and score goals. There is room for him to develop, but he’ll give us something we’ve not got in the midfield department.

“He’s left-footed, which is something we don’t have in our midfield at the moment, so he’ll give us more balance. We have a good midfield, but currently we don’t have a player with Joe’s characteristics.

“He is tall, athletic and quick. He’s a box-to-box player and is not afraid to open the door when he gets around the box and he can unlock defences.

“We’re confident we can turn Joe into an even better player and I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“He’s still young and we firmly believe there is a lot to come from him, but we need to be patient in order to allow him to continue his development and to improve as a player with the club.”

Charlton boss Lee Bowyer criticised Aribo’s decision to move to Glasgow earlier this week, insisting staying in England would be better for his development.

But he took a more diplomatic approach after news of the deal was confirmed.

“We’re disappointed to see Joe go,” Bowyer said on the Charlton website. “He has come on a lot as a player over the last 18 months.

“I’d like to thank him as he played a big part in our promotion season and wish him the best going forward. We’ll be watching him and hope he can go on to play at the highest level possible.”