Flying on-loan star ‘ideal profile’ for Milan and Arsenal have ‘room to sell’ amid Mudryk interest

Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun during a match for Middlesbrough Credit: Alamy
Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun during a match for Middlesbrough Credit: Alamy

Italian giants AC Milan are interested in signing Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun, according to reports in Italy.

Balogun is currently on loan at French side Stade Reims, replacing former Newcastle United target Hugo Ekitike at the Stade Auguste Delaune.

After struggling for game time at the Emirates, the 21-year-old has hit the ground running in France.

In 16 Ligue 1 appearances, Balogun has scored a terrific 10 goals as Reims sit 11th, seven points above the relegation zone.

The loan spell is going as well as anyone could have imagined and Balogun had no problem getting back on the scoresheet in his side’s first game after the World Cup, scoring twice in Thursday’s 3-1 win over Rennes.

Given his terrific form for Reims, there is some transfer interest in the young striker.

According to Calciomercato, Balogun is the ‘ideal profile’ for Serie A outfit AC Milan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury concerns and Divock Origi’s slow start to life in Italy means they are on the search for a new striker.

Arsenal have plenty of options up top and are linked with the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhaylo Mudryk, so ‘there is room’ to consider the sale of Balogun.

Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech is mentioned in the report. The Moroccan has been linked with a move to the San Siro for several months and is out of favour at Stamford Bridge.

What Mikel Arteta will want to do with Balogun remains to be seen.

Gabriel Jesus is currently out until mid-February at the earliest so the Gunners could sign a new striker this month.

If that happens, Balogun will fall further down the pecking order. It has been revealed that Arsenal have the ability to recall the player from his Reims loan, but are unlikely to do so.

So, ironically, an injury to a player who was signed to play in Balogun’s position has potentially made things a lot worse for the American-born striker.

Balogun spent the second half of last season on loan with Middlesbrough, where he failed to showcase his goalscoring ability.

His current loan has been huge for his development and also for his chances of becoming a big player under Arteta.

If Arsenal choose to cash in on Balogun while his stock is this high, it would be interesting to see what sort of fee they would hope to receive.

He is valued at £12.4million by Transfermarkt, but this would be too low for a player who has proven he can score in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

Given the fact Liverpool received £19m for Dominic Solanke and £16m for Jordan Ibe, any Arsenal fan would be disappointed to not see the club get at least £20m for Balogun.

READ MORE: Every Premier League club’s worst ever January transfer window signing

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