The Portuguese and German sides wanted the Nigerian international before he went to Scotland to join the Glasgow giants
Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt were interested in signing Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo before he agreed to join Glasgow Rangers three years ago, according to a report by The Athletic (subscription required).
Having nurtured Aribo for four years, Charlton Athletic wanted the youngster to commit to a new long-term contract in 2019.
But the Nigerian midfielder, who had contributed 16 goals and 15 assists in 97 appearances, desired a more significant challenge than League One.
Snubbing Benfica and Frankfurt
Aribo helped Charlton gain promotion to the Championship in his last season, but his eyes were set on the English Premier League – the football summit in England.
Available on a free transfer, Aribo attracted interest from several clubs, with Portugal’s Benfica and Germany’s Frankfurt the favourites for his signature.
But, as per The Athletic, the then 22-year-old ace could not agree terms with the two European giants. Southampton also enquired from Charlton about Aribo at the time.
Deciding for Rangers
Charlton’s manager at the time, Lee Bowyer, did his bit to convince Aribo to stay at the Valley.
But the then-Rangers manager Steven Gerrard made the game-changing move. The former Liverpool hero met with Aribo and convinced the youngster to shun any transfer overseas.
Aribo eventually signed a four-year deal with Rangers.
“I do know that Lee Bowyer tried his damnedest to keep him here,” Charlton’s academy director Steve Avory told The Athletic.
“Lee (Bowyer) tried to convince him that he should stay in England for now and then in a year, he would get the move to the Premier League.
“There is no bad feeling whatsoever and it was an attractive offer to go to Rangers, who are a massive club with a massive tradition. And it turned out a great experience for him.”
Aribo won the Scottish Premiership title, lifted the Scottish Cup, and scored in the Europa League final as his stay in Scotland proved every bit a success.
The 25-year-old on Saturday completed his dream move to the Premier League after signing a four-year contract with Southampton.