Thursday, March 16, 2023

Arsenal now ‘very aware’ of 17-goal striker at the Emirates

Arsenal are ‘very aware’ of the progress striker Folarin Balogun has been making at Stade Reims this season, Evening Standard journalist Simon Collings has told GIVEMESPORT.

The 21-year-old has thrived throughout his season-long loan spell with the Ligue 1 outfit, but whether his future lies at the Emirates Stadium or elsewhere is still up for debate.

Last month, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was quizzed over Balogun’s progress and what plans he has in store for him upon his return to the club.

“He’s got something special, that’s why we gave him a long-term contract and have faith in him and give him the long period that he’s having now, because the period he’s having now is different to the one before at Middlesbrough,” said Arteta.

“The plan is that he finishes his period there, assess the situation where he is, where we are, then sit down and plan the next chapter in his developing career.”

Arsenal are currently well-stocked upfront with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, but Balogun’s impressive form may force Arteta to reassess his options.

What has Collings said about Balogun?

When asked by GMS over what the future holds for Balogun, Collings disclosed that the striker’s displays haven’t ‘gone unnoticed’ in north London.

He said: “I think it’ll be something that Arsenal will sit down in the summer and decide. The debate will be whether you want to have three centre-forwards in the squad, which they’re going to have with Jesus, Nketiah, and Balogun.

“That level of depth in the Champions League could be beneficial, but Balogun himself might want to go and start playing first-team football every week.

“I think he can play anywhere across that forward line, which again, helps, but I think that’ll be one for the summer where all parties sit down and decide what they want to do. Arsenal are very aware of what he’s doing in France, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed at the club.”

How has Balogun been playing?

Reims have been one of the surprise packages of European football under young manager Will Still this season, and Balogun has been pivotal to their success.

The England Under-21 international has scored 17 goals in 28 league and cup appearances so far in 2022/23, setting up two further strikes along the way for his teammates.

Balogun has outscored both Jesus and Nketiah at this moment in time, but Arteta and sporting director Edu may choose to cash-in on him while his stock is so high.

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