Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has remained non-committal about Folarin Balogun’s long-term future at the club.
Speaking after Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Nuremberg, in a game where Balogun came off the bench in the second half, Arteta said the striker is currently focused on his pre-season preparations:
“Well this is what he has been doing and that’s why we gave him the minutes that he deserves to show what he can do. He’s just staying here with us at the moment and we will see what happens.”
Balogun is reportedly unwilling to leave on loan again, after spending last season with Stade de Reims, and he is not open to signing a new contract either, despite there being just two years remaining on his current deal.
It doesn’t leave the Gunners with very many options. They could offer him more game time but that does seem unrealistic, considering that Gabriel Jesus is first choice, so a sale is still the likeliest scenario.
Arsenal are expected to demand a hefty transfer fee
After scoring 21 goals last season, Balogun’s value has skyrocketed and it has been reported that the Gunners may demand as much as £50m.
That valuation could well put off a number of suitors, and the American international may have to be patient to get his move.
Considering Balogun is such a talented player, the club are very reluctant to lose him anyway, so they are not just going to give him away. Any deal has to be in the best interests of the club, as well as the player.
Which clubs are interested in signing Balogun?
There have been rumours that Chelsea have contacted the 22-year-old’s agent this summer but a move across London is not believed to be likely.
A transfer abroad is the most realistic option, with the likes of AC Milan, Inter, RB Leipzig and Marseille all thought to be in contention to secure his services.
Out of those options, Milan are the club who may have the most funds, following their decision to sell Sandro Tonali to Newcastle for £60m. They are also seeking a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic who retired from professional football at the end of last campaign. Leipzig could be another contender as well if they receive a sizeable cash boost by offloading Josko Gvardiol to Manchester City.
It is now very much a waiting game to see which team is prepared to stump up the sort of cash which would tempt Arsenal into selling up.