Wright defends £50m Arsenal man linked with summer transfer – ‘he’s gone to another level’
Ian Wright has leapt to the defence of Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun amid reports linking him with a move away from the Premier League leaders.
The 21-year-old is among a growing list of highly-rated young players at Arsenal.
Balogun has been enjoying a breakout campaign this term while on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims. He has scored 17 league goals this season.
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Lille’s Jonathan David are the only players who have scored more goals in the French top division than the Arsenal man this term.
Balogun’s recent performances have fuelled talk that he could leave Arsenal this summer, with reports indicating that he is valued at £50m.
Serie A giants AC Milan are being heavily linked with the forward ahead of the summer transfer window later this year.
Gareth Southgate has admitted that he has not spoken to Balogun about a senior call-up despite fears that he could switch allegiance and play for the United States or Nigeria.
Wright thinks Balogun “has to get a mention” for England as he is “scoring goals at an alarming rate”.
“If we want to talk about a No 9s, Harry Kane’s not going on forever,” he said via his podcast Wrighty’s House. “We need as many quality No 9s coming through as we can. I think that [Balogun] has to get a mention.
“He scores goals at an alarming rate. We’ve got to find that next No 9 is going to be able to score goals to win us games in those tournaments. And at the moment, it’s not there. It’s not there at the moment. So I would say don’t say things maybe at this point to dissuade somebody from having a go.”
Wright has also backed Balogun to carry on scoring on a consistent basis next season even if he returns to Arsenal.
“He’s gone to another level in confidence. I think that anywhere he goes in respect of leagues, he will do what he’s doing with the right service anywhere,” Wright added.
“What’s happened is while he was here [at Arsenal] and we saw him playing a few games for us, and he didn’t get to the places where he could get the chances and take the chances what we’ve him seen take in France.
“People might say I was because of the league but they can say whatever they want. It’s the way he’s taking those chances. His head is in a different place. Now he knows he can do it and I guarantee if he comes back he probably picks up from what he’s doing in Ligue 1.”
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