Ligue 1 club Reims are reportedly keen on signing Folarin Balogun, who is not expected to play regularly for Arsenal next season.
According to L’Equipe, as relayed by GFFN, Reims are keen on signing Folarin Balogun, with the young forward’s future at Arsenal still unclear. The Gunners could allow the attacking prodigy to leave this summer. The Ligue 1 are looking for attacking reinforcements and considers the 21-year-old a viable option.
Folarin Balogun put intense speculation to rest by signing a new deal with Arsenal last summer. But after starting the opening game against Brentford last season, the young prodigy was barely involved as Mikel Arteta welcomed his more seasoned attackers back.
As chances dried up with the first team, Arsenal decided to loan out Balogun, who joined Middlesbrough on loan in the second half of the season. For Chris Wilder’s side, the striker scored three times and assisted as many goals in 18 Championship games last season.
The 21-year-old prodigy has since returned to Arsenal, and despite speculation about Arteta reportedly leaving him out of the main group for the pre-season tour, Balogun did make the squad. He also played a few games, but his Arsenal future still looks bleak.
With three years left on his contract and his value intact, Arsenal are relaxed about his situation. However, there is a chance the north London club could look at offloading the forward if reasonable offers arrive.
French outfit Reims are in the hunt for new forwards and have considered Balogun’s reported availability. The Ligue 1 club recently lost Hugo Ekitike to Paris Saint-Germain, and despite the initial loan, they have the finances guaranteed, allowing them to spend this summer.
Reims could also see Scottish forward Fraser Hornby leave the club, which leaves them short of talent in the final third areas. Many still consider Balogun a huge talent, and a fresh challenge elsewhere could help him regain a footing in his career. Reims could be a good place to do so, although the Ligue 1 club are not looking to overpay for players.
It is unclear whether they are considering a loan move or a permanent one, although the report suggests it could be the latter. Balogun is set to have restricted chances next season in light of Gabriel Jesus’s arrival and the contract extension of Eddie Nketiah. For Arteta, those two are the first-choice strikers who are also capable of playing out wide, similar to Balogun.
For now, Balogun has competition at Arsenal, and the forward may be restricted to cup outings next season. At the same time, Nketiah is likely to start Europa League games. There are question marks over Balogun’s willingness to join a Ligue 1 club, and a move to another team in England, preferably in the Premier League, would be considered ideal for the striker’s development. But if game time becomes the primary objective for the player, Reims could be a good destination.