The Nigerian international could prove one of the bargains of the summer window after moving to St Mary’s on a potential £10m deal with his contract entering its final year at Ibrox [Athletic].
But whilst Rangers remains an important part of the ex-Charlton midfielder’s life, our former #17 giving an emotional interview as testament to such during the week, Aribo’s attentions will be firmly on impressing Ralph Hassenhuttl at Southampton.
And all the early indications are good as the Nigerian international comes off the bench to good effect in a 3-1 pre-season friendly win for Southampton against Ligue 1 Monaco.
Ex-Rangers star Joe Aribo impresses v Monaco
The 25-year-old Nigerian midfielder came on for the final 25 minutes of the match and contributed to the victory by finding fellow substitute Armstrong to put Southampton 2-1 up in the match.
This was after Alexandr Govolin had put Champions League hopefuls Monaco ahead and Saints striker Adam Armstrong had equalised.
Southampton stalwart James Ward Prowse would net the third goal of the game to make it 3-1 and send the Saints support home happy.
Rangers will be hoping to avoid the likes of Monaco or their Champions League QR3 opponents PSV in the Playoff round of Champions League qualification given the wealth of talent in their squad.
Rangers face surprise Belgian package Union Saint Gilloise in the third stage of qualification with supporters set to find out who potentially lies in wait in the final Playoff round next week.
That aside, it’s fair to say Joe Aribo, making his first appearance in front of the St Mary’s faithful, caught the eye with his dizzying close control and technical style.
So much so that Saints TV couldn’t resist pushing ex-Celtic man Stuart Armstrong on his first link-up with the former Ibrox star, with the Scotland international jokingly refusing to comment on his links to Rangers.
“We don’t talk about that!” Armstrong said of the Old Firm connections.
“I didn’t want to speak to him as soon as he came in – I thought I’d let him lie for a week.
“You can see in training the quality he has – he’s very powerful, strong, technical, keeps the ball tight and he’s very composed with his movement and his passing, so he’s a very good addition, experienced, and we’re very happy to have him.
“Always happy with a goal, but I think it was more in the pass from Joe – I wasn’t expecting him to play it across like he did, but it was very nice and I’m very happy that he gave me a nice quick shot on the turn.”
It’s fair to say that Joe Aribo is well on the way to winning over the hearts of the Southampton faithful just as he did the Rangers support.
And let’s hope that in the process the Nigerian midfielder wastes no time in making sure the likes of Stuart Armstrong know exactly who the top team in Glasgow is.
Meanwhile, a reportedly £4.5m-rated versatile international has issued a come and sign me plea to Rangers.