Can Leon Balogun reclaim his position in the heart of the Super Eagles defence?
After 2 seasons of highs and lows in England, Super Eagles defender Leon Balogun has written and made publicly available 2 emotional farewell messages to Brighton in the English Premer League and Wigan in the English Football League, thanking them for the opportunity to feature in both leagues.
The 31 year old centre defender struggled badly for game time in the English Premier League having featured a meagre 8 times across 2 seasons for Brighton before going on loan in January 2020 to Wigan in the EFL where he played regularly; there, he featured in 11 out of 15 games.
Almost being seen as a spent force in Brighton, Balogun showed the world that he could still play high level football in Wigan with performances that saw him distinguish himself as one of the best defenders in that league.
Balogun was sturdy at the back, comfortable with the ball and composed in his overall defensive duties with timely tackles and intricate interceptions. He was quick to cement his place in Wigan's starting line up.
That prompted the club to secure his signature for the rest of the season which sadly ended with Wigan being relegated to division 3 (largely brought about by the club going into administration).
"Regardless I will always remember this as a very special time in my career, in a very special place with a very special club full of very special people, " Balogun wrote to Wigan stakeholders.
To Brighton, he wrote: "I’d like to say thank you Brighton and Hove Albion and every soul involved for opening the door for me to Premier League football."
Now that he is a free agent, many are speculating the next destination for Balogun. Some reports link him with a move to either Celtic or Rangers in the Scottish Premier League while others claim that he will be returning to Germany.
Whichever the case, Semi Ajayi's promotion with Wes Brom to the English Premer League means that he is the one expected to continue to partner William Troost-Ekong in the heart of the Super Eagles defence. If Balogun wants to reclaim his place, he would need to find a club where he can play high level football.
If not, he will stay slightly lower in the pecking order of Super Eagles centre defenders.