Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun is set to join Ligue 1 club Reims on a season-long loan.
THE LOWDOWN: LIMITED OPPORTUNITY
Just like Eddie Nketiah, Folarin Balogun is a graduate of Arsenal’s Academy and made his debut for the Gunners in a 3-0 win over Dundalk in the Europa League in 2020. At the time, he was nearing the end of his contract but after some assurances from manager Mikel Arteta, he extended his contract with the North London side and was promoted to the first team fully.
Balogun featured in the opening two Premier League games in the 2021/22 season against Brentford and Chelsea, and made two further appearances in the EFL cup before he was loaned out to Middlesbrough in January. The youngster made his mark with the Championship side as he made 18 league appearances with a return of three goals and three assists.
Balogun has found first-team chances hard to come by at Arsenal but it is quite understandable, given the number of forwards that have been at the club over the past few years. Well, it now appears that Ligue 1 side Reims are keen on giving the 21-year-old a lifeline.
THE LATEST: FRENCH CONNECT
According to football Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Reims and Arsenal have reached an agreement for the signing of Folarin Balogun on loan.
“Full agreement completed between Arsenal and Reims for Folarin Balogun, as reported yesterday. Documents to be signed in the next 24/48h – player will be soon on his way to France in order to undergo medical tests. It’s a loan move valid until June 2023,” the Italian journalist tweeted.
Although Balogun still has a valid contract with the Gunners until 2025, Mikel Arteta wants him to leave in order to continue his development.
THE VERDICT: HE NEEDS THE MOVE
Despite the exits of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the past few months, the chances of Balogun featuring for the Gunners got diminished when Eddie Nketiah signed a new long-term deal and Gabriel Jesus joined from Manchester City to help to solve goalscoring issues upfront.
Although manager Mikel Arteta stressed some months ago that Balogun remains a part of the club, the striker is down the pecking order and chances of him playing regularly are not feasible. While Arteta’s statement remains valid, the youngster needs a place to develop and the French Ligue 1 will give him the chance to do so. Hopefully, he makes good use of it.