Nigeria centre-back Leon Balogun joined Brighton & Hove Albion as a free agent, before the summer World Cup in Russia, having reached the end of his contract with Bundesliga side Mainz 05. though, Many Super Eagles fans believed the move wasn’t the best for a player of his quality.
They claimed he should’ve waited till the end of the world’s greatest football fiesta in Russia to see if there would be new suitors for his signature.
However, the deeds have already been done as the German-born defender penned a two-year deal with the Amex outfits.
As expected, the 29-year-old was an unused substitute in the first game of the season, he was made to watch as his teammates were defeated 2-1 by Watford.
Luckily for the no-nonsense defender, Brighton’s highly-rated centre-back Lewis Dunk picked up an injury against Manchester United in the second game of the season, thereby, giving Balogun opportunity to make his debut appearance for the Premier League club.
During his time on the pitch, the former Hannover 96, Mainz 05, and Werder Bremen defender was too strong for Romelu Lukaku to beat. He was influential in Brighton’s shock 3 – 2 victory over José Mourinho’s men.
In the third week of the season, Leon Balogun was given his first start, against Liverpool, due to Dunk’s absence.
Liverpool’s game seemed to have come too soon for a player — who is starting to get used to life in England— as he was partly at fault for Mohammed Salah’s goal.
The Egyptian goal was the decisive goal of the encounter as the Seagulls lost their second match in three matches.
Though the tall defender had great performances in his two matches for the team, Brighton manager Chris Hughton wasn’t impressed as he wasted no time in dropping Balogun to the bench in their clash with Fulham.
With Dunk’s presence in the team, it would be very difficult for him to get quality game-time with the Amex outfits throughout this season.
Is Balogun’s World Cup showing not enough to convince Chris Houghton of the quality he’s made of?
This is the question many Nigerian fans are waiting to get a perfect response on.
During the World Cup in Russia, the player formed a great partnership with Troost Ekong at the heart of the defence and both players were awesome, though, they failed to help the country to a place in the knockout stages.
Unlike Balogun, his ‘partner in crime’ Ekong has moved to Serie A side Udinese and he was easily and immediately integrated into their starting lineup.
Balogun, who was recently called up by Genort Rohr despite his inactive role in his club, possesses too much tactical awareness and strong physical appearance to be sitting on the club’s bench every week.
Should he fail to get regular action before the end of the year, it would be advisable he leaves Brighton to another Premier League club so as to get back to reckoning. At 29, he needs to be getting regular action even if it means playing for a relegation-threatening side.