BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Charlton manager Lee Bowyer reckons Joe Aribo will be making a huge mistake if he signs for Rangers.
The midfielder, 23, has agreed a four-year contract with the Glasgow giants and is due to seal his switch pending a successful medical.
Bowyer accepts that the Addicks cannot match the terms on offer elsewhere for the Camberwell-born player. Southampton were also keen on a deal – which would have netted the newly-promoted Championship side some decent compensation.
Instead Aribo’s move to the Scottish Premier League will see minimal money heading Charlton’s way. But Bowyer is more annoyed that one of the most promising talents in English football is heading into a competition where Rangers and Celtic dominate.
“I worked so hard to get him to this situation he is in now,” said the Charlton manager. “It is about progression for him.
“So it’s a shame if he gets pushed to somewhere where it is not going to benefit him in his football career. If he goes to Rangers that is not the right place for him to go for his football career.
“You have got Rangers and Celtic who are massive clubs, I get that. And I get that Steven Gerrard was a great player, so that’s an attraction. Those two things are the attraction – but not everything else.
“It doesn’t make sense on the football side. When people from England go and play for Celtic and Rangers it is at the end of their careers. That’s because it is very rare you get a move from Rangers to the Premier League, and I don’t mean any disrespect by that.
“They might go from Rangers to the Championship, very rarely is it to the Premier League. For me he should stay in England and keep progressing. The move should benefit Joe.”
Aribo’s departure will make it two high-profile exits in the past week of key men in Charlton’s play-off winning squad. Centre-back Patrick Bauer joined Preston North End last week. On Friday Bowyer met with Aribo, who was on non-league Staines’ books until he was recommended to Charlton development coach Jason Euell by Marcus Gayle in 2015.
Bowyer said: “For us to be able to compete financially with Rangers or any other team really, it is not possible unfortunately. It’s a completely different league to what we’re offering.
“I met and had a chat with Joe on Friday. I told him that if he was going to go, at least stay in England – because that is where the best football is. If you have got the opportunity to go and play Premier League football, then at least you are going to the best place.”
TOP PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD
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