STEVEN GERRARD has known for some time what his Rangers midfield has been missing. In Joe Aribo, he reckons he has found it.

The Ibrox boss certainly isn’t short of options in the central areas, but there was a quality that his side didn’t have too often last term.

When teams were dogged and resolute, when defences were difficult to breach, there was a lack of guile and creativity in Rangers’ play.

The addition of Aribo could change that, though. The playmaker will join up with Gerrard’s squad in Portugal this week after finalising a move from Charlton on a four-year deal.

And the Ibrox boss is excited at the prospect of seeing Aribo add his style to the Light Blues midfield.


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“Yes, he’s very capable,” Gerrard said when asked if Aribo was the man to unlock defences.

“He’s left footed, which we have not got in the midfield area. He will give us more balance.

“He’s very tall and athletic and he’s quick. He’s a box to box player and he’s not afraid to open the door when he gets around the box.

“Last season he got into double figures with his goals but he will help us in that department.

“But it’s important we treat Joe with caution be se he’s still young and there’s a lot to come from him.

“But the challenge for us is to get him to where we want him as quickly as possible.”

The capture of Aribo has been perhaps the highlight of the summer so far for Gerrard as Rangers have seen off competition from a host of clubs in England and abroad, and Old Firm rivals Celtic, to strike a deal for the 22-year-old.

Aribo enjoyed a terrific campaign with Lee Bowyer’s side as he helped Charlton win promotion back to the Championship last season.

Now he will make the biggest move of his career as he looks to play his part for a Rangers side that will be going for the Premiership title.

Gerrard said: “In other people’s minds I think it might be a statement of intent. There were a lot of clubs in for him around Europe and in the Premier League and Championship.

“I’m led to believe there was a lot of interest in him. So for other people it may be seen as a statement of intent.


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“But for me it’s just another top player joining Rangers.

“I think this platform is perfect for him at the stage of his career that he’s at. He’s signing for a top club, it will be a big step up and I will be really interested in his development because I think there’s a lot more to come from him.

“We are very confident we can turn him into a better player.”

The form that Aribo showed in League One was enough to bring him to the attention of top flight teams in several countries.

It is at Ibrox where he will now look to go from strength to strength and where he has the chance to enhance a burgeoning reputation.

Gerrard said: “He’s got a fantastic profile and you will see that for yourselves when you see him with your own eyes. He’s very mobile and very dynamic. He can burst past a player and create and score goals.

“There’s still a lot of areas of his game where he can develop but he gives us something we have not got in the midfield department.

“That’s the key. We have good midfielder, we have experience, we have good young ones.

“But we didn’t have this type of midfielder with the characteristics that Joe has. I’m really looking forward to getting this signing over the line and working with him.”

Boss Gerrard will spend the coming days putting his players through their paces at their training camp in Portugal as Rangers step up their preparations for the new term.


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The Light Blues will play their first competitive fixture in the Europa League on July 11 when they face Prishtina or St Joseph’s.

And the countdown is very much on to the start of Gerrard’s second Premiership campaign as boss.

It is one the 39-year-old is looking forward to after a productive close season that has also seen him add Jordan Jones, Jake Hastie, Steven Davis, Greg Stewart, Sheyi Ojo and George Edmundson to his squad.

He said: “I am very confident that they can help myself and the team and the supporters but time will tell.

“They have got to come in, they’ve got to settle, they’ve got to produce. Every signing is a risk no matter who you bring in because the demands of this football club is different.

“We have to wait and see if the signings are going to be a success. You look at last season, and the majority of signings we made came in and contributed well.

“They have been positive signings in my book. But we’ve got some wrong along the way as well.

“We won’t make as many signings this year and we would like to think we have learned from our mistakes last year. I’ve got confidence that they will be a success but those players have to go out and grab it now and perform and produce.”