Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo has joined Premier League side, Southampton on a four-year deal from Scottish Giants, Rangers.
Although his transfer fee is undisclosed, sources close to the situation say the deal is worth £6m that could potentially rise to £10m with performance based add-ons.
The 25-year-old has played the past three seasons at Ibrox, scoring 26 goals in 149 matches since joining from English league one side, Charlton Athletic in 2019.
Aribo helped Rangers win their 55th SPL title in the 2020/2021 season, their firstin 10 years while liftingthe Scottish Cup last season. He was a runner-up in last season’s UEFA Europa League in which he scored in the final against German Bundesliga side Frankfurt.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is delighted with Aribo’s signing saying, “Joe is a player with many qualities to his game, and we are very excited to welcome him to the squad in time for the pre-season trip to Austria.
“We believe Joe can bring energy and creativity to our side. Feeling comfortable in so many different positions is very helpful for a manager and shows he has a high level of football intelligence, with the ability to take on new information quickly.”
The player added: “It’s an amazing club with a lot of history here, and it’s a good plan with what’s to come next. I’m really excited for the journey.
“The Premier League is the best league in the world. I’ve been watching it since I was a young boy, it’s always been a goal for me to play here and show what I can do on this stage.
“It’s an amazing feeling, a dream come true. This is where I’ve wanted to be since I was a child growing up playing, so to say that I’m here now is really exciting.”
Jurgen Klopp rated Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League as “not likely but possible” after the under-strength quadruple chasers took the title race to the final day of the season with a 2-1 win against Southampton on Tuesday.
After Liverpool defeated Chelsea on penalties in a gruelling FA Cup final just three days earlier, Klopp took a gamble with nine changes at St Mary’s.
Despite effectively fielding a reserve team and trailing to Nathan Redmond’s early strike, Liverpool hit back through goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip.
The Reds are just one point behind leaders Manchester City, with both teams having one game left.
A title race for the ages will go City’s way if they win against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Klopp insisted at the weekend that he does not expect City to drop points against Villa.
But Liverpool would be crowned champions for the second time in three seasons if they beat Wolves at Anfield and City fail to win.
“Of course it is unlikely because City play at home against Aston Villa, who play only on Thursday. It is possible, not likely but possible. That is enough,” Klopp said.
“It is our last home game of the season, the atmosphere will be outstanding, and we will try to use it.
“Of course it could happen. Football is a tricky game sometimes. The only chance we had tonight was to win. We did our job. We never give up.”
Klopp’s side will be expected to do their part of the equation against Wolves, especially now their refreshed key players can return to the team.
Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Andrew Robertson, Thiago Alcantara and Trent Alexander-Arnold were among those left out against Southampton, while Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk were sidelined with injuries suffered at Wembley.
“I never had a group like this. They push each other constantly. In the end, it is absolutely outstanding and tonight is really special,” Klopp said.
“We would have had much more problems today if we’d played the guys who played 120 minutes on Saturday.
“If it hadn’t worked out, it would have been 100 per cent my responsibility. Now it worked out and the boys should be really proud of that.”
City boss Pep Guardiola said he planned to watch the game on television and if he tuned in, it would have made for frustrating viewing as Southampton squandered the lead.
But it was Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty in the final minutes of City’s 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday which had given Liverpool renewed hope of catching the leaders.
And the Reds, hoping to become the first English club to win all four major trophies in one season, will settle their bid for historyin the last two games of their incredible, marathon campaign.
First, Liverpool will try to avoid a repeat of 2019, when they beat Wolves on the last day but were still pipped to the title by City.
Then they head to Paris to face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.
Liverpool were hit on the break when Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side took the lead after 13 minutes.
Redmond sprinted away down the left flank, cutting inside to the edge of the area and unleashed a fierce strike that took a deflection off James Milner as it flashed into the far corner.
With their title hopes in jeopardy, Liverpool showed the desire and character that inspired Klopp to label them “mentality monsters”.
Japan forward Minamino made the most of a rare Premier League start with a brilliant equaliser in the 27th minute.
Joe Gomez fizzed a pass into Jota and his perfectly weighted lay-off reached Minamino, who beat Alex McCarthy at the near post with a ferocious rising drive.
Liverpool’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 67th minute.
Matip and Kyle Walker-Peters challenged for Tsimikas’s corner and the ball looped in over McCarthy, forcing City to keep the champagne on ice for now.
Goals from Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz put the game beyond the home side’s reach by half-time.
Werner and Mount both scored again early in the second half as the match became an embarrassing rout.
Meanwhile, Arsenal stumbled again, losing 2-1 against Brighton.
Arsenal are having a wobble at the wrong time after putting themselves in a strong position to qualify to play in the Champions League for the first time since 2016/17.
The home defeat against Brighton means Mikel Arteta’s men have now lost three of their past four league games and they are now level with fierce rivals Tottenham, having played the same number of games.
Brighton took the lead at the Emirates Stadium when Leandro Trossard turned home a low cross from Enock Mwepu while the Zambian midfielder himself added a second. Martin Odegaard scored a late consolation.
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola praised his players’ powers of recovery to beat Southampton 5-2 despite being denied a blatant penalty when the game was delicately poised at 1-1.
City are now 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League as they close in on a third title in four years.
A 21-game winning run for Guardiola’s men came to an end against Manchester United on Sunday.
But City offered the second-placed Red Devils little extra encouragement that there was a route back into the title race as Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne both struck twice.
Guardiola, though, was still furious after VAR did not intervene when Alex McCarthy wiped out Phil Foden after overrunning the ball.
The England midfielder tried to stay on his feet to tap into an empty net, but, after the chance slipped away, VAR did not tell referee Jon Moss to review the incident.
“Jon cannot see it but that the VAR is there and don’t whistle the penalty is incredible,” said Guardiola.
“You know after four years I don’t talk about the referees, but this action is incredible.
“Maybe one day they will explain us really the rule for all the players, managers.
“That’s why I am proud because in this club, I don’t know in others, what we have done in these past years we won it ourselves that’s for sure.”
City’s winning run had started against Southampton back in December when the Saints were flying high and above the now champions-elect in the table.
However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men have taken just nine points from their last 15 games to tumble down to 14th.
The visitors made a bright start before their leaky defence began to creak when faced with City’s array of attacking talent.
De Bruyne smashed home the opener off the underside of the bar after McCarthy had parried Foden’s shot on 15 minutes.
The lead only lasted 10 minutes, though, as Jannik Vestegaard was hauled down by Aymeric Laporte after his initial header had been parried by Ederson.
James Ward-Prowse coolly converted the penalty straight down the middle.
Moments later came City’s penalty appeal, but to their credit the home side turned their anger from that injustice into goals before the break.
The brilliant Mahrez pounced on a stray Che Adams pass before curling into the bottom corner on his favoured left foot.
‘Quality of players’
The Algerian was also the creator for City’s third as his right-footed effort came back off the post and Ilkay Gundogan was in the right place to stroke home his 14th goal of the season.
“We won because of the quality of the players we had on the pitch,” added Guardiola. “It’s important for Kevin and Riyad to score goals. We need them.”
Goals continued to flow at both ends after the break as Mahrez wriggled clear in the box again to fire in City’s fourth.
A miserly defensive record had been key to the run that allowed Guardiola’s side to streak clear at the top of the table.
But they have now conceded six goals in their last four games.
With John Stones rested, Laporte did little to further his chances of starting the big upcoming Champions League games. The Frenchman was again at fault as Adams drilled a loose ball home from close range.
Again City responded almost immediately as Foden teed up De Bruyne to score his second of the evening.
Manchester City secured a much-needed win to keep their Premier League title challenge alive as Raheem Sterling’s goal earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory at fourth-placed Southampton on Saturday.
City slipped to 11 points behind leaders Liverpool prior to kick-off, albeit with two games in hand on the champions, and once again had to rely on a solid defensive display to edge up to fifth in the table thanks to a seventh clean sheet in eight games.
Pep Guardiola’s men were again guilty of not being ruthless enough in front of goal with the few chances they did create, but one moment of quality that saw Kevin De Bruyne tee up Sterling separated the sides.
Southampton had lost just once in their previous 10 league games to start the day four points and six places ahead of their illustrious visitors.
But the loss of top scorer Danny Ings on top of the defeat dealt a blow to their quest to qualify for Europe.
In a bright City start, Joao Cancelo forced Alex McCarthy into a flying save and Rodri saw an effort ruled out for offside before the only goal arrived on 16 munites.
Southampton’s daring approach to press high backfired as it afforded City the chance to counter-attack that very few sides offer Guardiola’s men.
Bernardo Silva fed De Bruyne down the right and his inch-perfect cross was swept home by Sterling for his seventh goal of the season.
Southampton, though, reacted well to falling behind as Theo Walcott forced Ederson into his first save of the day.
Jannik Vestergaard’s threat from set-pieces has been a big part in Southampton’s success this season and twice the giant Dane will feel he should have done better as his first weak header was easily claimed by Ederson before his second more powerful attempt flew over the bar.
Ruben Dias’s own goal cost City two unexpected dropped points in a 1-1 draw with West Brom on Tuesday and the Portuguese centre-back narrowly escaped another goal at the wrong end after Che Adams just failed to connect with a dangerous cross from Kyle Walker-Peters.
The home side suffered a major blow just before the break when Ings had to be replaced with a muscle injury.
City soaked up plenty of pressure from the Saints in the second half, but again lacked the killer instinct upfront to kill the game off.
Ferran Torres flashed an effort across goal before Silva should have provided the finish Sterling did to another brilliant De Bruyne cross.
De Bruyne was also guilty of not taking a big chance on the counter-attack when he fired too close to McCarthy and the Southampton ‘keeper than made an incredible save high to his right to deny Ilkay Gundogan.
Cheered on by 2,000 fans in one of the few Premier League venues allowed to host supporters, due to stricter coronavirus restrictions in other parts of England, the home side pushed until the end.
But City always looked the more likely to score if there was to be a second goal and Riyad Mahrez left Guardiola with his head in his hands after blazing over a glorious opportunity in stoppage time.
Tottenham’s League Cup tie at Leyton Orient was called off on Tuesday after several of their League Two opponents tested positive for the coronavirus.
Just two hours before Jose Mourinho’s side were due to play the third round match at the Breyer Group Stadium, the English Football League announced it had been postponed.
Orient had already shut down their training ground as a result of the virus outbreak in their first-team squad.
“Tonight’s Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this evening as scheduled,” an Orient statement said.
“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the fixture not taking place tonight and a further update will be provided in due course.
“Leyton Orient, the EFL and the relevant authorities are conducting a thorough review of the club’s Covid-19 secure procedures with the view to reopening the stadium and training ground as soon as possible.”
Reports said Tottenham could be awarded a bye into the fourth round against Chelsea or Barnsley under League Cup rules.
Orient are keen for the tie to be rearranged, but with the next round scheduled for next week there is little room to fit it in.
The fourth tier club had revealed the positive cases on Monday, with reports claiming Tottenham had paid for their opponents’ testing after Orient’s game against Mansfield on Saturday.
Football League clubs no longer have to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for Covid-19 on a weekly basis this season, as is still the case in the Premier League.
Tottenham may not be disappointed at the match being called off in the midst of a hectic spell of five games in 10 days that Mourinho had branded “crazy”.
They played on Sunday at Southampton in the Premier League and will travel to Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Shkendija on Thursday.