Rangers in Aribo AFCON dilemma as Old Firm presence hangs in balance
Photo by DANIEL BELOUMOU OLOMO/AFP via Getty Images

Rangers in Aribo AFCON dilemma as Old Firm presence hangs in balance

In any other situation, Rangers and their supporters would be willing Nigeria international Joe Aribo to Africa Cup of Nations glory.

But with an increasing list of absentees for the club’s crunch Old Firm clash with Celtic on February 2nd, there may be quite a few cheering on Tunisia at the tournament later today.

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Rangers star Joe Aribo is the frontrunner for the Ibrox club’s Player of the Year this season and has been taken a huge step in his development this campaign.

Ex-Charlton star Joe has gone from a clearly talented star inconsistently capable of the brilliant to a key player for the Gers and someone who can be relied on to deliver consistently.

It’s that jump that has a host of Premier League clubs reportedly tailing Joe Aribo as the Rangers star shines at AFCON, with Southampton the side reportedly heading the list.

But whilst a potential move away from Ibrox appears inevitable – more likely in the summer than this month unless an appropriate bid is made – the impending nature of that Old Firm game has Rangers fans chewing their fingernails.

Rangers await Nigeria Joe Aribo AFCON outcome amid Celtic absences

With both Rangers and Celtic facing some key absences ahead of the Old Firm, it has some potentially hoping Nigeria crash out of AFCON against Tunisia and free Joe Aribo up for the game.

But with that would come a huge disappointment to Joe who has been a stand-out performer for the Super Eagles with the Nigeria side now one of the favourites to lift the trophy.

From a purely selfish point of view, Rangers fans are perhaps quite right to be hoping the Nigeria international is back in the club’s camp for the Old Firm trip to Celtic Park.

But from Aribo’s perspective, this is a huge chance for the player to catapult himself into the stratosphere and be part of a team who lift a major trophy to the adulation of his country.

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To deny Joe Aribo that opportunity at AFCON would be unbecoming of Rangers and the club’s fans so if Nigeria do progress against Tunisia, fans will then be hoping the Super Eagles go on and win it.

And that whilst they do so, the midfielder’s absence isn’t massively felt at Celtic Park.

Meanwhile Rangers have a had a bid rejected for a January target but a leading journalist has some positive news regarding the deal.