By Noel Whelan

4th Jun, 2022 | 9:45pm

Rangers told they 'can't afford' to let Joe Aribo leave for nothing - pundit

Noel Whelan has insisted Rangers “can’t afford” to let Joe Aribo walk away for free as his contract standoff continues.

The former Leeds and Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted getting a potential big-money fee for the 25-year-old is still “vitally important” to the Ibrox club despite their European windfalls in 2021-22.

Aribo has entered the final year of his contract at Rangers and can discuss a pre-contract with foreign sides in January 2023.

However, speaking on Nigerian radio station Brilla FM on 2 June (via Complete Sports), Aribo insisted he is “happy at Rangers” and is “not thinking about leaving”.

Football Insider revealed on 17 April that Crystal Palace are among multiple Premier League sides interested in the Nigeria international.

Whelan hinted that Aribo’s contract situation could force a sale this summer.

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“They really can’t afford to lose him for free,” he told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.

“As much as the European run has brought in, they still need to stay in the black and bring new players in. Especially if you’re losing players like Aribo.

“They can’t just let him walk away for free.

“This money generated by players is vitally important to Rangers, we know that.”

As per The Athletic (3 June), Rangers could turn to a significant sale this summer in order to boost their transfer budget as they target the Champions League group stages.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side will enter the competition in the third qualifying round.

In other news, pundit suggests Rangers have made ‘ambitious’ transfer promise to Connor Goldson.