THERE has been a lot of discussion this week surrounding the future of 22-year-old Charlton Atheltic midfielder Joe Aribo. Rangers are said to be at the head of the queue to sign the promising youngster but face stiff competition from a number of English clubs, with Aribo's contract at newly-promoted Charlton set to expire.

Aribo broke into the Charlton first team during the 2017/18 season at 19 years old and has came on leaps and bounds since then. The midfielder has accrued 16 goals and 15 assists in 97 appearances in his time at The Valley, but the majority of these goals and assists have arrived this season.

This eye-catching form caught the attention of the Rangers scouting department, and the Ibrox club have made their move to bring the 22-year-old to Glasgow. With the youngster's contract up at the end of the season, Rangers would be able to bring in the midfielder for a nominal development fee. But how would Aribo fit into Steven Gerrard's side, and what would he bring to the team?

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The first thing that catches the eye with Aribo is the midfielder's creative ability in the final third. A deep completion is a successful pass completed within 15 yards of the opposition goal and in this regard, Aribo is one the best players in League One. The midfielder has completed no fewer than 67 of these passes this campaign - the eighth-highest total in the division - and has done so with an astounding 97% accuracy rate.

This ability to pick out a team-mate in attacking scenarios has been instrumental to Charlton's unlikely promotion success this season. Aribo plays nominally as a central attacking midfielder, but has a tendency to drift wide and cut in onto his favoured left foot before picking out a team-mate with an incisive pass.

Similarly, Aribo is one of League One's best chance creators and boasts one of the highest number of key passes (passes which lead directly to a shot) in the league and excels at playing smart passes (a pass which moves the ball beyond at least two opposition players). The 22-year-old has a smart pass accuracy of 41.86%, the 11th-highest total in the English third tier.

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The graphic above compares a selection of Aribo's midfield stats to Rangers' central midfielders, and gives a clear indication of the type of player that Rangers supporters can expect to see if a deal can be concluded. There are certain areas where Aribo stands out compared to the midfielders currently on the books at Ibrox, and others where improvement is required.

Aribo averaged a goal every four games for Charlton in the 2018/19 season; an excellent return for a midfielder, especially one aged 22. Only Scott Arfield had a higher scoring rate last season among the Rangers midfielders last season and is probably the player at Ibrox currently that Aribo has the most in common with.

In terms of the number of shots attempted and their accuracy, and the total number of passes attempted and their accuracy, Arfield and Aribo's numbers are very similar, but the Canadian has the edge in most departments.


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One area that Aribo stands head and shoulders above the rest, however, is in the midfielder's ability to carry the ball forward. Aribo attempts three times as many dribbles as any Rangers midfielder did last season, and did so largely successfully: 72.7% of Aribo's dribbles were successful last season. To put that figure into context, only 54.8% of Arfield's dribbles came off successfully.

This is what Aribo can bring to Rangers that, at present, Gerrard's side are lacking. Players like Steven Davis, Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack are all excellent passers of the ball but lack the dynamism required to carry the ball forward and directly run at the opposition. Arfield can do this to an extent but to nowhere near the level of success that Aribo enjoys.

There are areas that must be improved upon, of course. Aribo's passing must get tidier and for all his good work in the final third, the 22-year-old should really have more assists to his name. But there is little doubt that Aribo is an exciting prospect who, with the right coaching, could develop into a key player at Ibrox.