New arrival at Glasgow Rangers of Scotland, Leon Aderemi Balogun has received comforting words from the club’s coach, Steven Gerrard, as the Liverpool of England legend believes he has hooked a major asset for his squad ahead of next season in the Scottish Premiership, megasportsarena.com reports.
Gerrard stated as much in the wake of the unveiling of Balogun at Ewood Park, where the former Liverpool captain believes the Super Eagles’ stopper, who last played for Wigan Athletic of England, will excel alongside the Nigerian trio of Joe Aribo, Sheyi Ojo and Malcolm Ebiowei in the club that also recently had on their cards the duo of Sadiq Umar and Ovie Ejaria.
After confirming the surprisingly speedy deal for Balogun, with an option of extending it for a further 12 months, Gerrard admitted he had been looking to add defensive cover to his squad since losing Nikola Katic to a serious knee injury and stressed that he is very excited to hook the experienced Germany-born former Brighton of England ace.
Scotland’s new top-flight season kicks off this Saturday, August 1, with The Gers up against Aberdeen, heading into which Gerrard will be counting a lot on Balogun, who has been capped 32 times by Nigeria and played in all three of the Super Eagles’ matches at the 2018 World Cup, after which he was in their bronze-winning squad to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The 32-year-old Balogun was available on a free transfer after leaving Wigan at the end of last week, following their relegation from the English Championship on Wednesday, and he could get into The Gers’ starting line-up immediately, as he aims to prove that he deserves to stay in Glasgow beyond a single season.
What should be top of Balogun’s mind from the word go would be how to convince Gerrard to take up the option of an additional 12 months to his contract, as the former Werder Bremen, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Darmstadt and SV Mainz of Germany defender also tries to help Rangers put a halt to Glasgow rivals, Celtic’s bid for a 10th SPL title in a row.
Gerrard said: “I am pleased to secure the signature of Leon. He is an experienced centre half, who will add strength and depth to our squad. His experience in the Premier League as well as his international pedigree strengthens our squad and will assist in the development of our young defenders.
“Leon has just finished a round of competitive fixtures with Wigan. So, he will hit the ground running. He’s a positive and bright character and we are looking forward to his influence around the group.”
Rangers’ 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.”