Rangers have been linked with Alhassan Yusuf recently, and if he were to join Steven Gerrard’s side this summer, he could help to unleash Joe Aribo at Ibrox next season.
What’s the word?
According to Score Nigeria, Rangers have contacted IFK Goteborg about potentially signing the 20-year-old, who has earned a lot of plaudits for his performances in the Allsvenskan, winning the league’s Young Player of the Year award in the 2018/19 season.
The £1.35m-rated Nigerian appears to be an all-action, energetic defensive midfielder in the mould of N’Golo Kante, with his ability to press and play as a ball-winner praised by Goteborg’s chief scout Olle Sultan last year.
He said of Yusuf: “I have believed in him very much all the time. He has learned on the way to becoming less naive. The touch is very nice and he is always so oriented and has such control on the ball. The press game is good and he is aggressive. When he eventually gets a little more power, he will be a good ball winner as well. In addition, he is a great guy who flows into the group nicely.
“A ball winner and game genius in one. There’s a bit to learn, that’s it, but he can really be great.”
Can Yusuf help increase Aribo’s creativity?
Could Yusuf unleash Aribo?
Aribo enjoyed arguably his best season in a Rangers shirt in 2020/21, with eight goals and seven assists in all competitions, but you still feel that there is a potential for him to reach double digits from midfield by pushing further into the attack.
The Nigeria international was usually deployed in midfield alongside Glen Kamara and Steven Davis last season and whilst the Northern Irishman was excellent throughout the campaign and deservedly earned a new one-year deal, Yusuf would give Rangers some more youthful exuberance in a holding midfield role, which could allow Aribo more freedom to get forward and be creative.
The “exceptional” 24-year-old – as hailed by Nigerian football legend Viktor Ikpeba – could even move into an attacking midfield position permanently if Gerrard switches to a 4-2-3-1 rather than a 4-3-3. With Yusuf completing a midfield duo with the similarly energetic Kamara or Ryan Jack, that should contain enough defensive nous to maintain Rangers’ control of games and excellent clean sheet record, duly allowing Aribo to operate further forward and do damage in the final third.
Therefore, Wilson should definitely consider a move for Yusuf this summer, as he seems to have a lot of potential and could be a great low-cost option for Rangers.