Balogun: Rangers sign Super Eagles defender

Leon Balogun Wigan Athletic
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The 32-year-old Nigeria international has teamed up with the Ibrox Stadium outfit after parting ways with the Latics

Scottish Premiership side Rangers have announced the signing of Leon Balogun on a year contract with an option of an extension.

The Nigeria international became a free agent after leaving Championship side Wigan Athletic at the end of the 2019-20 season.

The 32-year-old moved to England in 2018 from Bundesliga side Mainz 05 before teaming up with the Latics after finding game-time difficult to come by with the Seagulls.

The defender, who arrived Wigan initially on loan in January, was signed permanently until the end of the 2019-20 season.

The Super Eagles centre-back featured in 11 league games for the Latics but his effort was not enough to help the side avoid relegation after they were handed a 12-point deduction.

On Friday, Rangers heralded the signing of the defender after a successful medical examination and he will link up with his compatriot Joe Aribo at the club.

“I am pleased to secure the signature of Leon. He is an experienced centre half who will add strength and depth to our squad,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told the club website.

“Leon has just finished a round of competitive fixtures with Wigan so will hit the ground running. He’s a positive and bright character and we are looking forward to his influence around the group”

Sporting Director Ross Wilson added: “We quickly targeted Leon after adapting our transfer plan when Niko Katic suffered an injury a few weeks ago.

"Leon impressed Steven and me with his enthusiasm and excitement to join Rangers from the moment we first spoke whilst the staff at Brighton and Wigan couldn’t have spoken any higher about his personality and abilities.”

Balogun has spent most of his career in Germany playing for Turkiyemspor Berlin, Hannover 96, Werder Bremen, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Darmstadt 98 and Mainz.

The centre-back played 52 league games for the 05ers before joining Premier League club Brighton in 2018.

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Balogun, who was born to a Nigerian father and German mother, has 32 caps for the Super Eagles and was part of the side that finished third at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.