According to reports, RB Leipzig have enquired about signing on-loan Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun in the upcoming summer transfer window. The German club are looking to sign a replacement for the departing Christian Nkunku and the American youngster has been identified as a potential target.
Balogun joined Ligue 1 side Stade De Reims on a season-long loan last summer. The English striker has had a fantastic season with the French club, having accumulated 19 goals and 3 assists in Ligue 1 so far (stats via Transfermarkt).
His goal-scoring form seem to have slowed down at the moment, but till April, he was competing with former Arsenal target Jonathon David, and a particular Kylian Mbappe for the Golden Boot. Despite his tremendous form, reports suggested that the Gunners are considering selling the 21-year-old this summer. The striker could be offloaded to raise funds for signings in other positions.
According to Spanish outlet Fichajes (via The Sun), RB Leipzig are very keen on acquiring the services of Folarin Balogun in the summer. The Bundesliga side are looking to add a replacement for the Chelsea-bound Nkunku and a reliable goal-scorer to complement Timo Werner.
The Gunners would be delighted with the kind of progress the Englishman has made in France, but his sudden improvement has presented them with a serious problem. The 21-year-old still has two years left in his contract with Arsenal and the chances of him taking over the role of first-choice striker from Gabriel Jesus is unlikely.
Therefore, the North London side are willing to accept a reasonable offer for the forward at the end of the season. As reported by Sky Germany (via Metro), Arsenal are willing to listen to offers of over €40m for the on-loan striker. Besides RB Leipzig, Serie A sides AC Milan and Inter Milan are also reportedly interested in signing Folarin Balogun.
🚨 Arsenal set price for Folarin Balogun amid interest from German club
🗣️ Arsenal reportedly demand €40m (£35m) for striker Folarin Balogun, with RB Leipzig showing interest.
🗣️ Balogun's excellent form on loan at Reims: "The 21-year-old has enjoyed an excellent campaign in… pic.twitter.com/gj6qBkQYrj
— Arsenal Informer (@ars_informer) April 12, 2023
Reports also suggest that the youngster does not want to return to the Emirates as a third-choice striker. He is unlikely to find regular minutes at the Emirates, with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah both ahead of him in the pecking order. In an interview last month, Balogun spoke of the possibility of returning to his boyhood club:
“Yeah I mean, contractually I have to go back. Because the loan was only for one year so that was always the agreement.
‘But I wouldn’t, um, I’m not sure what is going to happen in the future. A lot could happen in football, a lot could change. It just depends on the conversations we have between me and the club in the summer, and we’ll see what happens.”
The Yale end graduate refused to rule out the possibility of a permanent transfer to the Ligue 1 too.
Folarin Balogun was one of the most highly-rated prospects to come through the Arsenal youth academy in recent years. The 21-year-old also enjoyed a successful stint at Middlesbrough before going on loan to France. There has always been a tinge of expectation that the youngster would return to the Emirates one day to lead Mikel Arteta’s young and dynamic frontline.
However, Arsenal are currently stacked for options in attack. Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Jesus form Arteta’s most preferred trident. Leandro Trossard, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, and Reiss Nelson have all served as reliable backups. Another attacker in the mix will unlikely see much playing time amidst the heavy competition for minutes.
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Furthermore, a fee of €40 million gives the Gunners a lot of spending options. A large part of their squad improvements this season has been due to smaller, but smarter investments. This sale would offer the North London side a great chance to add depth to other positions and build a more complete squad for next season.
Do you think Arsenal should sell Balogun? Is a transfer fee of €40 million fair? Let us know in the comments.
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