Charlton Athletic manager Lee Bowyer believes Joe Aribo has made a huge mistake by the leaving the Championship club to join Rangers.
The 22-year-old midfielder’s move to Glasgow was confirmed on Thursday afternoon, but Bowyer believes the player should have stayed in England and signed for Brentford, who were also chasing his signature.
Bowyer hit the headlines north of the border earlier this week when he slammed Aribo and his agent for agreeing a move to Ibrox – saying a move to Scotland, where ‘players go to retire’, is the wrong move for his career.
Those remarks outraged former Rangers striker Kris Boyd, who joined talkSPORT on Thursday morning to respond to the Addicks boss.
“The disrespect to Scottish football, and two of the biggest organisations in world football in Rangers and Celtic,” said the ex-Scotland international.
“I can’t work out why someone, who two weeks ago was leaving his club, is now all of a sudden appeared back and is having a go at other teams.
“If Joe wants to move on to further his career then so be it.
“I can’t quite work out why you’d want to be so disrespectful to Rangers or Celtic because, I’ll tell you one thing, if Lee Bowyer was offered the Rangers or Celtic job he would jump at the chance to take it.”
But, out of concern for his now-former player, he believes moving to Rangers is a backwards step in the promising Aribo’s career.
In response to Boyd’s comments, he said: “Firstly, I have to clear up – I wasn’t leaving Charlton two weeks ago, we were in negotiations and it was just a matter of time until we reached an agreement.
“And secondly, there is no disrespect meant towards Rangers, Celtic or the Scottish league, all I was taking about was for Joe’s career, because that’s what I care about.”
On new Rangers signing Aribo, Bowyer explained: “I worked so hard with Joe. Before this season he was a bit-part player and then I gave him the opportunity, put a lot of time into him and made him the player he is today, and he’s not the finished article.
“But I believe moving to Rangers is the wrong move for him, and it’s not in a disrespectful way. Rangers is a massive club, they’ve got great tradition and a great manager in Steven Gerrard.
“For me, the only positive for Joe going to Rangers would be working under Gerrard – maybe that’s the reason why he’s gone there, because Gerrard will make him a better player.
“Tell me how many players over the last few years that have gone to Rangers and then gone on to the Premier League – there hasn’t been many.
“For me, Joe should have stayed in England. I wanted him to make the right decision on footballing terms, a stepping stone for him.
“Brentford came to us two days ago asking about Joe. They said they tried for him. Joe wasn’t even aware Brentford were interested in him. His agent should have told him. That’s wrong.
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“What Brentford do is they buy young players, make them better and then sell them on to the Premier League. That’s where Joe needs to get to.
“For Joe to go to Rangers, OK financially he’s done well, but it makes no sense on the football side.
“In Scotland you’ve got Celtic and Rangers and you might have one more, but that’s it.
“In the Championship, you’d be playing against a lot of Premier League-quality players, so Joe would have a bigger challenge and would learn more and quicker playing in the Championship.
“The majority of players go to Scotland at the end of their careers. For his career, moving to Brentford would be a stepping stone.
“Whether I like it or not, Rangers is his next destination and I wish him and the club all the best.
“It’s not personal, but I just wanted to see the kid make the right decision for his football career – that’s all.
“I want him to get to the top, I want to be sitting at home on a Saturday evening watching him play on Match of the Day, just like Karlan Grant [who moved from Charlton to Huddersfield].”