Nigeria’s Leon Balogun joins Brighton

Nigeria international Leon Balogun has completed a move to Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion from Mainz, the club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old, who has been named in Gernot Rohr’s World Cup squad, has joined the Seagulls on a two-year deal and moves to the Amex Stadium on a free transfer after coming to the end of his contract with the Bundesliga outfit.

“I am delighted to welcome Leon to the club,” Brighton coach Chris Hughton told the club’s official website. “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.

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

The towering defender was born in Germany, but is eligible to represent Nigeria via his father. He currently has 14 caps for the Super Eagles, but missed out on the 2014 World Cup due to injury.

He began his career in the German lower leagues with Turkiyemspor Berlin, before moving onto Hannover and then Werder Bremen.

The defender also represented Fortuna Dusseldorf and SV Darmstadt 98 before signing for Mainz in 2015. The O-Fives finished 14th in the German top flight this term.

Balogun becomes the second defender in Nigeria’s provisional World Cup squad to secure a move this summer, with former ADO Den Haag right-back Tyronne Ebuehi having already completed an offseason move to Benfica, ESPN reports.

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