It’s becoming more obvious by the day that Glasgow Rangers simply must tie Leon Balogun down to a new contract after his emergence under Steven Gerrard this season.
The 32-year-old centre-back has become a mainstay in Gerrard’s first team so far this season, with Rangers having signed the free agent following his exit from Wigan Athletic.
His impressive performances have led Gerrard to urge the board to tie his future to the club as his contract is set to expire in the summer.
The Rangers manager revealed he is eager to keep the Nigeria international at Rangers for next season after confirming he is close to triggering a clause in his contract which will extend his stay at Ibrox for a further year.
“We have six centre backs at the moment but that won’t be the case in the summer,” said Gerrard. “Leon has something in his contract that might trigger on its own in the coming weeks. But we don’t have to wait for that because we are really happy with the player and I want him around for next season anyway.”
Gerrard has a wealth of defensive options at his disposal but with some facing an uncertain future in the summer, Balogun has been a big player on a domestic level and showed against Standard Liege he has the experience to take his efforts onto the European stage too.
He is currently averaging 1.4 interceptions per game in the Premiership, which is more than any other Rangers player, and an indication of how well he reads the game, while he is very much comfortable on the ball like a modern-day centre-half, boasting the fourth-best passing accuracy in the entire squad with 90.6%.
The Nigerian currently earns £12,500-per-week with the 54-time Scottish champions and considering he is a fully-fledged international with 31 caps for his country, his experience could prove invaluable as they chase both domestic and European success.
Gerrard has made no attempts to hide his admiration for Balogun, as he was recently quoted as saying by The Herald: “He is an international player, he is very quick, he has got a fantastic profile, a profile that we like in that area, and he has come in and settled in really quickly and put in some real consistent performances.”
Securing Balogun’s future for next season would be another added boost to the Gers in what has been an incredible season as they close in on the title.