Rangers star Leon Balogun’s injury woes could ensure that his Ibrox career comes to an end this summer.
The Gers picked up Balogun on a free in July 2020 following a stint at Wigan Athletic and it’s fair to say that it has turned out to be a good deal for all concerned.
The Nigeria international made 19 league appearances last season, making a significant contribution to the rock solid defence that was the foundation for 55.
He made 28 appearances across all competitions, earning a one-year extension, and on Wednesday night against Hibs, he made his 50th appearance in the famous jersey.
However, he could well be entering his last few months as a Rangers player.
Balogun’s Rangers career may be nearing an end
If it was purely down to performance, there’d be a strong case for extending the defender’s deal once again.
After all, despite being 33, he’s still quick across the ground and a strong tackler, while he can also do a job at right-back if needed.
However, his susceptibility to injury means it makes sense for the club to let him go.
Remarkably, his injury history section on Transfermarkt is three pages long, documenting a series of different issues at previous clubs such as Hannover 96, Mainz and Brighton.
He had four different injuries during his first season at Ibrox, causing him to miss a total of 13 matches. That’s far from ideal but not disastrous.
However, the problem has worsened this campaign.
Balogun missed ten matches in late 2021 due to injury and then after making a 60-minute comeback against Stirling Albion in the Scottish Cup in January, he was ruled out for the following two fixtures.
The 6ft 3″ centre-back impressed off the bench against Celtic last week and helped keep a clean sheet against Hearts a few days later, but he pulled up lame yet again just 15 minutes into Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Hibernian with a suspected hamstring injury.
It’s unclear how long Balogun will be out for, but this latest issue is likely to take him well beyond last season’s tally of games missed, even though the end of the campaign is still months away.
At this point, he simply can’t be relied upon to stay fit and therefore, while his commitment and ability aren’t in doubt, a contract extension should be out of the question.