Giovanni van Bronckhorst has confirmed that Joe Aribo will leave Rangers in the “near future” as the midfielder closes in on a move to Premier League side Southampton.
The 25-year-old is set for a return to England this weekend three years after leaving Charlton Athletic in favour of a move to Ibrox.
GlasgowWorld understands the Nigeria international, who is currently in London, has agreed personal terms with the South Coast club with a permanent transfer to be completed over the coming days.
An initial fee of £6million plus add-ons could take the deal to £10m with a sell-on clause also included.
Rangers will secure a significant profit on the bargain £300,000 cross-border fee they paid for Aribo in the summer of 2019, but his departure will be a major blow to Van Bronckhorst ahead of the new season.
He has played a starring role for the Govan side in recent seasons, helping his team mates deny Celtic from winning ten-in-a-row during the 2020/21 season before ending the club’s 13-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup in May.
Aribo also netted in the Europa League Final against Eintracht Frankfurt earlier this year.
While accepting Aribo’s decision, Van Bronckhorst has praised the club’s transfer policy.
He told Sky Sports: “Joe is a very important player for us. He’s been really good for this club for the last few years. Of course, his development was really good.
“But at the moment, he has the ambition to play in the (English) Premier League, so that’s his ambition and that’s probably what is going to happen in the near future.
“It’s what you want as a club - to get talented players, develop them into really good players and eventually the players have their own ambitions. I think what he’s done for the club is fantastic.
“I talked with Joe about his future last season. He’s been playing with Rangers for three years and it’s also the natural way in players’ careers and playing in the Premier League - there aren’t any stronger leagues than that in the world.”
Van Bronckhorst also revealed Rangers are locked in talks with key duo Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent over extending their deals.
The Dutchman confirmed there have been no inquiries made for his star performers, who are both entering the final 12 months of their contracts, but accepts that could change over the coming weeks.
He added: “We are in talks, especially with players coming into the last year of their contract.
“Of course, after the season we had attention will come to your players but so far the interest in our players is not very high - apart from Joe.
“But in football you never know. You have to wait and see what happens in the future because things can change in footall very quickly.
“We have been working closely with Ross Wilson about players coming so we make sure the squad is ready.”