West Virginia-born Gboli Ariyibi arrived at Elland Road after his release by Southmpton in 2013, the Whites taking up the fleet-footed winger’s signature on a short-term deal.
Singing for the Elland Road outfit on December 12 2013, Ariyibi was seen by some as a definite capture that would enhance the Leeds United academy and Under-21 set up.
However, the breakthrough at Leeds United never came, with the youngster only playing twice for the Whites, games against Blackburn and Nottingham Forest gaining him only 73 minutes of action. A further two games on loan at Tranmere saw him gather 64 minutes of game time before the Whites cut him loose, releasing him at the end of May 2014.
Cut adrift, the young American winger spent almost three months without a team until League One side Chesterfield took a chance on the then 19-year-old, the Spireites signing him at the end of August 2014.
Since then the youngster has notched up 57 appearances for Chesterfield across all competitions, scoring four goals and providing 10 assists. However, it is his sparkling form over this season that has caught the eye somewhat.
This season the rapid winger has two goals to his name in games against Port Vale (a 4-2 win where he provided two assists) and Doncaster Rovers (where he scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw), whilst also having laid on eight assists for teammates.
Speaking of his time at Elland Road, a stay that spanned two seasons, Ariyibi told the League Paper it was more-or-less a case of bad timing. The exciting youngster said: “When I went to Leeds, it probably wasn’t the best time for me to come in, though Brian McDermott really liked me. I think it was a case of the right club but the wrong time. Then I had the pre-season at Burnley, but I came to Chesterfield. I didn’t have much experience of first-team football, so it’s great to have had the chance here.”
Ariyibi also reserved praise for current Spireites boss Danny Wilson, saying that he’s introduced a whole new aspect to his game. The young American Under-23 international said: “As a flair player, I know my role is to score goals and get assists, but he’s also given me some defensive duties, which is new for me.
“It’s been really good, though, because it means that, even if things aren’t quite coming off, I can contribute to the team.
“And it’s only by adding extra parts to your game that you can really improve as a player.”
With this season nearly over, Chesterfield fans will be hoping that Gboly Ariyibi’s form continues into the next campaign and helps the Spireites to have a more successful season than what they’ve just experienced.