• Leon Balogun First Summer Addition For Albion

    After a successful first campaign back in the Premier League, that saw Albion stay up with something to spare, it looks like being an interesting Summer in the transfer market for Chris Hughton. The window hasnít been open for very long, but the club has already moved to make the first new signings, both announced last week.

    On Tuesday, Albion announced the signing of centre-back Leon Balogun on a free transfer from Mainz 05. Balogun put pen to paper on a new two-year deal that will keep him in England through to the end of the 2019-2020 campaign.

    With Uwe Hunemeier returning to Germany and Connor Goldson still being linked with a move to Rangers, Balogunís arrival bolsters Hughtonís defensive options. Whilst Balogun will be a useful addition, there are still other areas that Albionís recruitment team will be tasked with strengthening if Albion are to avoid relegation next term. As it stands, Albion are amongst the favourites for relegation next season, but if you need some betting tips, there are plenty of resources to choose from.

    Albion boss Chris Hughton is excited about what Balogun can bring to the Seagullsí back line. He said, ďI am delighted to welcome Leon to the club. He will add more depth to our defensive options, and I am pleased to get our first piece of business done so early in the summer.Ē

    ďHe is in the peak years of his career and I am sure he will integrate well into the squad. He also has valuable experience, having played in the Bundesliga, the Europa League and at international level,Ē Hughton added.

    Balogun plays his international football for Nigeria despite having been born on German soil. The defender began his professional career with Hannover 96 before moving on to Werder Bremen, Fortuna Dusseldorf, Darmstadt 98 and finally Mainz 05.

    Albion supporters will get an early chance to get an early look at what Balogun can bring to the Amex. The 29-year-old defender has been named in the 30-man preliminary squad for Nigeria ahead of next monthís World Cup in Russia. Balogun has made 16 appearances for the Nigerian senior national team since making his debut during a friendly in March of 2014.

    Having missed the 2014 World Cup in Brazil due to injury, he will undoubtedly be looking forward to competing in front of the watching eyes of the world this Summer.

    While Albion did enough to secure a second season in the Premier League last term, there are areas of Chris Hughtonís squad that look likely to be in need of some attention. Albion conceded 54 league goals last season, which was fewer than the likes of mid-table Everton and Leicester City, but the side were repeatedly found wanting against opposition set pieces, and Chris Hughton will be keen for Albion to be stronger in that part of their game next time round.

    Albionís centre-midfield did not provide a single Premier League goal which is certainly an area for improvement, and there is likely to be more transfer activity affecting Albionís forward line, even after the capture of Florin Andone for a fee that looks to be a bit of a bargain.
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