By George Overhill

13th May, 2023 | 4:40pm

Rangers transfer news: Michael Beale favourite Leon Balogun available less than a year after unwanted Ibrox exit

Leon Balogun has been released by QPR less than a year after Rangers boss Michael Beale signed him at Loftus Road, the club has confirmed.

The former Gers centre-back left Ibrox last summer when his contract expired but admitted that he hadn’t wanted to leave and was “hoping” to come back when speaking to the Beautiful Game Podcast (6 December, 30m 30s), before signing with the English club in August.

Balogun, 34, suggested he hadn’t seen entirely eye to eye with former boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who had left him “proper, proper angry” by putting him on the bench for the entirety of the Europa League Final after he made 36 total appearances during the campaign.

Beale had written a heartfelt tribute on Twitter as the Nigerian international left Rangers, and eventually brought him in at his previous job on a one-year deal, before his now-infamous departure to replace Van Bronckhorst during the World Cup.

Despite signing both John Souttar and Ben Davies last summer the Rangers back line has been far from secure for much of the season, with Filip Helander missing the entire campaign with injury and now also set to leave at the expiry of his deal, raising the possibility of an emotional return to Glasgow for Balogun.


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With Beale embarking on a serious job in the transfer market this summer the chance to sign Balogun once more is now available, with both on record as stating their admiration for each other, and the defender never wanting to leave Rangers in the first place.

There is a fair argument that a 34-year-old who has just been released from the English second tier isn’t where the Light Blues need to be looking if they are to overhaul Celtic, or reach and compete in the Champions League.

At the same time, the club let him walk a year ago and despite spending money to get younger at the position they arguably regressed defensively, and are back in the market again.

How much of that is actually down to the departure of Calvin Bassey to Ajax rather than Balogun is open for debate, but the back four has looked less commanding without the veteran around.

Without a massive budget to restock his squad Davies has been mooted as potential sale for Beale to raise funds after an up-and-down first campaign at Ibrox.

So the Rangers boss may see value in bringing in a fee for the 27-year-old and replacing him with Balogun for nothing now there are no impediments to a deal.

He is going to have to weigh up what he can do with the money available as he seeks to make major changes to his playing staff, and with free transfers pursued elsewhere this one could appeal.

In other Rangers news, the Portugal manager has been raving about the talent of one Ibrox ace.