Joe Aribo Vents on Southampton as Rangers Transfer Talk Swirls, Declares He Didn’t Receive “a Proper Chance”

Joe Aribo, the Nigerian international footballer, has voiced his disappointment and frustration over what he perceives as a lack of opportunities during his debut season at Southampton. Despite his successful stint at Rangers, where he contributed to numerous victories, including winning the Scottish Premiership title, Aribo’s experience with Southampton fell short of his expectations. As the Super Eagles reached the African Cup of Nations, Aribo reflected on his relegation from the English Premier League just a year after leaving Ibrox and expressed his eagerness to return to form.

During his first season with Southampton, Aribo struggled to secure regular playing time under three different managers – Ralph Hasenhuttl, Nathan Jones, and Ruben Selles. The 26-year-old midfielder found himself making only 27 appearances across all competitions. At times, he was even demoted to the U23s squad. This disappointing turn of events contrasted sharply with Aribo’s previous achievements at Rangers, where he not only helped the team win the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup but also scored a historic goal in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Speculation surrounding a potential return to Rangers has arisen, especially with the unlikely return of Malik Tillman. Aribo’s dissatisfaction with his limited game time at St Mary’s last season was evident, particularly as he watched Southampton finish at the bottom of the English top flight. Speaking candidly on the Planet Sport Football Africa podcast, Aribo described his feelings about the season: “For me, very frustrating… I had all of these goals and what I wanted to do, also to help the team. But I didn’t feel I got the chance to do that, and it was really frustrating.”

Despite his frustration, Aribo acknowledged the season as a learning experience. He believes that there must be a reason behind his challenging situation and that he must trust in a higher power. He stated, “Right now, I am questioning that reason, but we just have to put our faith in God and trust.” Aribo recognized the necessity of the season in his overall development as a player, emphasizing that there is always a purpose behind difficult circumstances.

Experiencing relegation for the first time in his career added to Aribo’s disappointment. He admitted feeling lost and unsure how to cope with the situation. Aribo explained, “It was a bitter one to take, but another reason why it was so bitter for me is because I didn’t really get a chance, a proper chance, to help the team. Like, seeing it all unfold was really upsetting for me.”