Steven Gerrard moved to secure defensive reinforcements for Rangers this week with the signing of Leon Balogun as cover for the injured Nikola Katic, the Nigeria international signing a 1-year deal with an option to extend for another season after arriving from Brighton and Hove Albion.
The transfer came out of nowhere with there being no mention of his name in the Scottish press prior to his announcement, and the 32-year old’s arrival has been backed by former Ger, Alan Hutton, who, speaking to Football Insider, was stunned by the transfer.
So what has Hutton said?
Hutton feels that the signing is a shrewd move by Gerrard, even if Balogun doesn’t play every week and has backed the Light Blues gaffer’s decision:
“I was kind of stunned when I saw it, I looked on my phone and then bang, signing, it kind of came out of nowhere.
“We spoke about them wanting the fourth centre-half, I think it was a priority to bring someone in. He’s 32 now, he’s experienced and I know he’s not played so much in the last few years but he’s an international player who’s played abroad – he knows the game.
“I think he will be more of a backup option but a good option to have.”
So is Hutton correct?
Balogun joins the Rangers squad as the most experienced centre-half with more international caps than Filip Helander and more appearances in the Premier League than Connor Goldson, he has also spent years playing against some of the continent’s best in the Bundesliga.
He played every game of Nigeria’s World Cup adventure in 2018 but despite all of his achievements will probably find himself third in the pecking order with Helander and Goldson being Gerrard’s first picks, however, with such a high level of back-up, the pair will certainly be kept on their toes.
Rangers had to replace Katic and the length of the deal is perfect, if he impresses, they know that they can extend his deal plus it negates the need to rush the popular Croatian back to action, it also allows Lewis Mayo to head out on loan for some much needed game time rather than kicking his heels as fourth choice at Ibrox.
Hutton is correct, it’s a great deal for both parties and Bologun has the calibre to ensure that any slip ups from those in the first-team will be short lived, although maybe not directly, his signing could yet be the catalyst that ends the defensive errors that cost Gerrard’s side so dearly in the second half of last season.