From nowhere, and from one signing, suddenly Rangers, despite a very unfortunate incident some weeks ago, appear to be embarrassed with riches in one area of the park.
And we’re not talking about midfield for once. We’re not even referring to having three strikers.
No, the acquisition of defender Leon Balogun has completely shifted the perspective in defence, from a real lack of quality CBs, now Rangers have five.
Let’s look in turn at exactly what Rangers now have in such a critical area of the pitch:
The first choice. Always will be. Had a reasonable match yesterday even if his defensive stats were horrendous (0 tackles, clearances or interceptions) and no matter how he plays, he’ll start. But has looked a little better alongside our new signing.
Sure, it ‘was only Aberdeen’ and then ‘it was only St Mirren’ and soon ‘it was only Barcelona’ (Rangers fans seem to enjoy slagging off our better players these days, discrediting their performances based on circumstances) but there’s no denying Balogun has been a touch of absolute class. Quick, strong, immense in the air, superb in the tackle, reads the game like a pro, and a true leader, he’s quickly become the best CB at the club. Incidentally his stats yesterday, 2 tackles, 5 interceptions and 3 clearances. He’s raised the standard around him and the picture looks rosier for his signing.
So unfortunate for Ed that Rangers brought Balogun in, because he was looking very useful in pre-season. But the moment the competitive action started, Balogun took his place. Edmundson is a fine young defender who’s learning the game, but while we all anticipated him being the first choice or one of, he’s had to return to the bench with the Nigerian stopper coming in.
Had an excellent display in Germany to demonstrate he’s capable, more than, but question marks remain over his SPL competency. The game in Scotland passed him by last season, even before his injury, then he got another one in pre-season to effectively lose his place all over again. He has never had a chance to settle at Ibrox, but there is surely talent there.
His media performances recently demonstrate a maturation on his part and far greater confidence speaking English, so hopefully he’s growing up on the pitch too. He admits he wants to ‘smash’ everything on the pitch, very physical is our Niko, but he won’t be back till next year, and is currently on crutches. But he is such an immense stopper when he’s on his game.
Five alpha defenders now, and Rangers really do have a hell of a lot of choice in that area now.
But definitely big kudos to the scouts for nabbing Balogun.