QPR complete signing of defender Balogun

QPR have completed the signing of experienced central defender Leon Balogun.

West London Sport had revealed that Balogun, 34, was being targeted as one of up to five new signings in the final days of the transfer window.

The Germany-born Nigeria international was a free agent, having been released earlier this summer by Glasgow Rangers. He has signed one-year contract at Loftus Road.  R’s boss Mick Beale knows Balogun from their time at Ibrox.

Beale has been keen to strengthen the entire spine of the team – attack, central midfield and central defence – and the club might well also sign another back-up goalkeeper.

And that could lead to players being offloaded, either on loan or on permanent deals.

QPR are one of a number of Championship sides keen to sign striker Cameron Archer from Aston Villa on loan.

Archer’s Villa team-mate Tim Iroegbunam is among midfielders being discussed as possible signings too.

Beale knows both players from his time as Villa boss Steven Gerrard’s assistant at the Premier League club.

The signing of a striker would pave the way for Macauley Bonne to move on, while George Thomas is being lined up for a departure as well.

The arrival of another midfielder would also leave Andre Dozzell and club captain Stefan Johansen out in the cold.

Beale, whose team have won just one of his six matches in charge, rates Sam Field highly but has developed serious concerns about the midfield in general and is therefore now keen to add extra dynamism in that position.

The head coach has also been planning a switch to three at the back, with the recent arrival of the attack-minded Ethan Laird giving the option of deploying wing-backs.

Jake Clarke-Salter will operate as a left-sided centre-back when he returns from injury, but some of QPR’s defending in the early stages of the season led Beale to conclude that an experienced player is needed at the heart of the defence.

Balogun fits the bill. He played in the Premier League during a spell with Brighton and has played for Wigan in the Championship.

Beale previously intended to keep defenders Conor Masterson and Joe Gubbins at the club rather than send them out on loan.

However, the arrival of another centre-back means Gubbins will be made available for a loan move. Right-back Aaron Drewe will also be loaned out if the right offer comes in.

Masterson, on the other hand, is currently likely to be retained – both because of the expected switch to three centre-backs and because he previously played as a defensive midfielder when he was coached by Beale at Liverpool, so potentially offers cover in two positions.

QPR are also now considering bringing in another keeper – almost certainly one currently without a club – and sending youngster Joe Walsh out on loan.

Competition for left-back Kenneth Paal is another option being looked at as the deadline approaches, with Niko Hamalainen having failed to impress in the Dutchman’s recent absence through injury.


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