With great success comes an even greater desire to show your worth. In the case of Arsenal starlet Folarin Balogun, this summer could be a tipping point in the career of the England youth international after the New York City-born center-forward has taken his opportunity in Champagne country with both hands during a highly-successful loan spell at Stade de Reims.
Under young tactician Will Still, the 21-year-old striker has flourished in his first full season in one of Europe’s top five leagues, building on his performances for Championship outfit Middlesbrough during the 2021-22 campaign.
At the time of writing, Balogun’s 18 goals are good enough to see him as the joint-second scorer in the French top flight, ironically alongside former Arsenal star Alexandre Lacazette, while trailing goalscoring leaders Kylian Mbappé and Jonathan David by a single tally.
Given his success across the length of the season, reports from The Athletic’s David Ornstein detail a potential source of contention between Arsenal and Balogun this summer, with the young striker wanting to be viewed as first-choice next season.
With just two years left on his current terms with the Premier League leaders, such a demand would put Gunners boss Mikel Arteta and club technical director Edu Gaspar in a difficult position. With summer signing Gabriel Jesus the clear first-choice option in the capital, the Brazilian international is already backed-up by Hale End Academy product Eddie Nketiah, who was already resigned to a contract extension through the 2026-27 season while now seeing him bank £100k/week.
Additionally, the rapid emergence of January addition Leandro Trossard as a viable Swiss army knife forward after his arrival from Brighton has offered even greater depth in the forward line for Arteta, with the Belgian international unquestionably one of the club’s top performers in the last few months. Where Balogun fits into all of this remains to be seen, but surely, the first-choice striker is not a place he will be able to command, or even earn.
As such, there is real scope to suggest that Balogun may find himself in the shop window come the transfer window, but it is unlikely that Arsenal will be able to receive the £50m fee that many fans would be hoping to fetch should he end his 14-year association with the English giants.
Per Ornstein’s report, Serie A giants AC Milan and Inter Milan are joined by AS Monaco, Olympique de Marseille, and RB Leipzig as possible suitors, but only the Italian pair would be capable of parting with a larger amount. Realistically, should Balogun leave, Arsenal could possibly expect to receive somewhere in the region of £30m-£35m for the player given market factors unless the American-born forward is willing to bide his time at London Colney.