Arsenal could lose one of their most in-form players in the summer as they ponder what to do with a man recently valued in the £50million bracket, according to a report.
It is looking like a season to remember for Arsenal, who are currently top of the Premier League. With a five-point lead over defending champions Manchester City and a game in hand, Mikel Arteta’s team are well-placed to compete for the title.
There is plenty of time remaining in the season for things to change. But it is definitely the Gunners who appear to be in pole position to end their long wait for another Premier League trophy.
After all, many members of their squad are in good form. Only Man City’s Kevin De Bruyne has provided more assists in this season’s Premier League than Bukayo Saka, for example. At the other end of the pitch, Aaron Ramsdale has kept more clean sheets this season than all but one of the other goalkeepers in the division.
In fact, such is the extent of Arsenal’s positive momentum, that one of their players out on loan – who is yet to make a serious dent on the first team – is also thriving.
The player in question is Folarin Balogun, who has only ever made two Premier League appearances. After spending part of last season in the Championship during a loan spell with Middlesbrough, he has been lent to Ligue 1 outfit Reims for the current campaign.
Balogun is excelling over in France under the management of Will Still. Indeed, he is currently the top scorer in Ligue 1 this season with 14 goals from 21 appearances. Outscoring the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe so far is an accomplishment.
Hence, Balogun has been generating plenty of attention. But according to The Sun, he will face an uncertain future when he returns to Arsenal in the summer.
Striker could be sold while value is high
His contract at the Emirates Stadium is only due to run until 2025. With that in mind, Arsenal need to decide what Balogun’s long-term future might look like.
Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah are currently in his way of starting as a striker for Arteta’s team. Because of that hierarchy, it is claimed that Arsenal are wondering if they should cash in on Balogun while his stock is high.
A recent report from Football Insider claimed that they believe he could be worth as much as £50m.
Per the update from The Sun, Arsenal are ideally planning to reintegrate Balogun next season, before loaning him out again in January if he has been unable to get past Jesus or Nketiah.
The problem, though, is that his value might decline if he does not succeed. Then, he would only have a year left on his contract, only adding another complication.
If Arsenal still see Jesus and Nketiah as their long-term strikers, they have supposedly acknowledged that they might have to cash in on Balogun at the end of this season instead.
The Sun also claims that Reims have already asked if they can keep the 21-year-old on a permanent basis. Arsenal have rejected their initial request, though.
Arsenal face familiar dilemma with Folarin Balogun
It seems they will only be letting Balogun go if the deal suits them. But given the way he has performed this season, the time when his value reaches its peak as an Arsenal-owned player might soon arrive.
Alternatively, the club could prove their belief in his worth by reintegrating him. Despite playing in a different position, he could theoretically follow a similar path to William Saliba.
The defender also spent time on loan in France, enjoying a strong last season with Marseille. Arsenal then had to decide whether to cash in or fit him into their team. They opted for the latter, and Saliba has subsequently been an integral part of their table-topping side.
Therefore, there could be a similar route back to north London for Balogun. But there will certainly be plenty of interest in him after the season he is having. It could lead to some difficult decisions for Arteta and Edu in a few months’ time.
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