Rangers are reportedly targeting the ‘best player in the Fluminense’ side with Copa Libertadores finalist Jhon Arias linked with a shock move to the Scottish Premiership giants.
And that is high praise indeed.
Fluminense, after all, are just 90 minutes away from being crowned the champions of all of South America, facing Boca Juniors in this week’s Copa Libertadores final. Head coach Fernando Diniz has some of the brightest talents in the country lighting up the pitch, including former Barcelona defender Marlon Santos and the £26 million Liverpool target Andre Trindade.
For Jhon Arias to stand out amidst such company is testament, then, to just how consistency excellent he has been over the last seven months or so, TEAMtalk reporting that Fluminense’s man for all seasons and all positions has caught the eye of Rangers and numerous Premier League clubs.
“(Arias is) dynamic, he can work all over the field and he’s very, very versatile. For me, he’s probably been the best player in the Fluminense side.”
The numbers certainly speak out in support of Vickery’s claims, even if they don’t quite do Arias’ impact justice. The Colombia international has scored nine goals and set up 13 more during the 2023 Brazilian season, thriving both on the right and the left under Diniz.
An intelligent and creative ball-carrier – Arias seems to move with the ball glued to his feet – he also averages the second highest tackles per game (1.8) of any Fluminense player. That is quite something, given that 26-year-old is more renowned for his attacking work than his defensive output (WhoScored).
Rangers, who face competition from the likes of West Ham United, Wolves and Crystal Palace, may potentially view Arias as a replacement for Abdallah Sima. The Brighton loanee’s excellent recent form is arguably a double-edged sword, scoring for fun yet attracting the interest of rival clubs from across the continent.
According to reports, meanwhile, Clement is eyeing up to three new signings in January with a striker a priority.