Joe Aribo has already given transfer verdict as Rangers star in ‘advanced talks’ with Premier League side

The 25-year-old is close to agreeing a move to Southampton after negotiations accelerated last night.

Rangers star Joe Aribo is in advanced talks with Premier League side Southampton over a £10million summer transfer to St Mary’s.

The Nigeria international, who scored in the Europa League final earlier this year, rejected a contract offer from the Ibrox side yesterday amid interest from Saints and a host of other English top-flight sides.

Crystal Palace, Fulham and new boys Nottingham Forest were all forming a queue to secure his services but it appears the South Coast club are now firm favourites to complete a deal for the 25-year-old.

GlasgowWorldunderstands discussions have accelerated and there could be an agreement in place between both parties within the next 48 hours.

Aribo has a £10m release clause in his Rangers contract and Southampton are believed to be close to agreeing a deal for a fee in the region of £6m plus add-ons.

The versatile midfielder could be set to undergo a medical this weekend before signing a four-year-deal if the proposed transfer is completed.

The former Charlton Athletic player was scheduled to meet up with the rest of his Gers team mates in Portugal on Thursday for a warm weather training camp but he is currently in London.

An ever-present in the Rangers side under former boss Steven Gerrard and his successor Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Aribo was the club’s most used player last term, making 57 appearances in all competitions, scoring nine goals and assisting a further ten.

What has Joe Aribo said about his future?

Aribo is believed to be keen on joining Ralph Hassenhuttl’s side with both parties currently working to agree a transfer fee. He has just one year remaining on his current deal but Rangers will NOT accept a total package below the player’s clause value.

He has been a standout performer for the Glasgow giants in recent years since arriving in 2019 but has previously spoken about his desire to play Premier League football.

However, Aribo recently told the Daily Record he is not letting himself get distracted over speculation of a potential move to south of the border.

He admitted: “With all that stuff I don’t really read into it and I just focus on my football, because you can’t have distractions as it won’t allow you to play best and be the best that you want to be.

“That is obviously what I want to be every time I play. I just want to be focused and ready to go.”

Ex-Rangers striker Kenny Miller believes Aribo has all the attributes a Premier League club would want.

Speaking last month, he said: “Joe is now at a good age. If you profile him, he has everything a Premier League club would want. With a year left on his contract, teams won’t be stupid with potential bids.

“Rangers have a valuation of what he’s worth and it’s about whether they can find that common ground with a buyer. I’d like to see Aribo’s situation resolved quickly. If the board are willing to sell, let’s bring in the most money we can.”

Why do Southampton want to sign Joe Aribo?

Primarily a central or attacking midfielder, Aribo was deployed in a variery of roles last season, inclduing down the right-hand side and as a makeshift striker towards the end of last season amid an injury crisis.

Saints have already made three summer signings, bringing in goalkeepers Mateusz Lis and Gavin Bazunu and defender Armel Bella-Kotchap.

Rangers' Nigerian midfielder Joe Aribo (L) and Leipzig's Austrian midfielder Konrad Laimer both jump to head the ball during the UEFA Europa League semi-final, first leg - Kenny Miller believes Aribo is an option up front for the second leg at Ibrox. (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester City midfielder Romeo Lavia is also expected to seal a £14m deal but Aribo’s versatility would provide Hassenhuttl’s with several options.

Southampton often play a flat 4-4-2 with a midfield pivot sitting at the base of midfield. A target man up front with a No10 who can drop into midfield to compress spaces.

Aribo likes to roam about the pitch and control the speed of play in between the lines. His possession-based style and quick feet allows him to break forward and register efforts on goal.

Alongside the likes of James Ward-Prowse and Oriol Romeu, Aribo can be used as a ball-carrier who can help to stretch the pitch. His key skills are passing, dribbling, aerial strength and ball-retention which are all required in the Premier League.