Giovanni van Bronckhorst insists Rangers could not stand in the way of Joe Aribo’s desire to play in the English Premier League with Southampton.
Aribo is expected to leave Rangers in the coming weeks, with a potential £10million agreement for the star midfielder.
That was the amount inserted into the Nigerian international’s clause when he was signed from Charlton Athletic for a knockdown fee in 2019, with Van Bronckhorst hailing the 25-year-old’s ‘fantastic’ contribution to the Ibrox side since then.
However, while entering the final 12 months of his Rangers contract, Aribo had interest from Southampton, Crystal Palace, and Nottingham Forest and made it clear he wants to return to England.
“Of course I talked with Joe about his future last season,” manager Van Bronckhorst told Sky Sports from Rangers’ pre-season base in Portugal.
“But he has been playing for three years for Rangers and it’s the natural way for players’ careers. Of course Joe wants to develop himself further and see where his level is.
“Playing in the Premier League, there won’t come any stronger leagues than that in the world.
“Joe was a very important player for us. He has been really good for this club for the last years.
“His development was really good but, at the moment, he has the ambition to play in the Premier League.
“So that’s his ambition and that is probably what is going to happen in the near future.
“It’s what you want as a club, to get talented players into the club and develop them as really good players.
“And eventually the player has their own ambitions. But I think what he has done for this club has been fantastic.”