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Brighton sign Nigerian international centre-back Leon Balogun for free

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Brighton & Hove Albion have completed the signing of Nigeria international defender Leon Balogun.

Balogun, 29, has joined on a free transfer after leaving Bundesliga side FSV Mainz 05, and has signed a two-year deal with the club.

Albion manager Chris Hughton said, “I 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.

“He 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.”

Balogun began his career at Turkiyemspor Berlin in 2007 before moves to Hannover, Werder Bremen, Fortuna Dusseldorf and SV Darmstadt.

He joined Mainz in July 2015 and helped them stave off relegation this season.

Balogun said: “I know they (Albion) have been watching me for quite a while now and it has always been my dream to come to the Premier League.

“Ever since I started playing at a professional level a lot of team-mates told me it would fit my game and I am happy it’s just happened.”

Berlin-born Balogun qualifies for Nigeria through his father. He missed out on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil because of a foot fracture but will feature for the Super Eagles in the finals in Russia next month after a warm-up friendly against England at Wembley on June 2.

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