AC Milan want Folarin Balogun to partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Folarin Balogun on his debut for Arsenal against Dundalk (Photo via Balogun on Twitter)
Folarin Balogun on his debut for Arsenal against Dundalk (Photo via Balogun on Twitter)

AC Milan are considering Folarin Balogun on a free transfer this summer but much depends on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s situation, according to a report.

Folarin Balogun with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via David Price on Twitter)
Folarin Balogun with the Arsenal u21s (Photo via David Price on Twitter)

Calciomercato.it report that AC Milan are looking at potential signings up front ahead of the summer, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract expiring.

The 39-year-old might still renew his deal and, if he does, Milan would look at a younger profile of striker. They’d want someone to learn from Ibrahimovic, taking over later. Their shortlist reportedly includes Folarin Balogun – whose own contract expires in June.

If Ibrahimovic leaves, Milan will look at a more experienced player instead.

To me, it would be a bit of a bizarre decision from Balogun to leave Arsenal to wait for a chance behind Ibrahimovic. I don’t really see how that’s different from waiting behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal.

Arsenal also have Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah (just as Milan have Mandzukic and Leao), but both players have deals expiring in 2022 and they could well leave the club in the summer. At that point, there’s clearly an opening for Balogun.

Unfortunately, I’m not the one making the decision on Balogun’s future, and the grass in Milan may look greener to his camp.

He wants to stay: Arteta gives update on Folarin Balogun

Mikel Arteta is still positive that Folarin Balogun is going to remain with Arsenal beyond this summer, despite the player’s contract situation.

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal scores their sides fourth goal past Gary Rogers of Dundalk during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Dundalk FC and Arsenal FC at Aviva Stadium on December 10, 2020. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal scores their sides fourth goal past Gary Rogers of Dundalk during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Dundalk FC and Arsenal FC at Aviva Stadium on December 10, 2020. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

As most Arsenal fans will know by now, Folarin Balogun is only months from the end of his contract with the club. They’ve been in talks with him on-and-off for over a year, but without reaching an agreement on an extension.

The club are trying to hold onto him, to the extent that they didn’t sell in the summer or in January – risking losing him for a training compensation fee. Yet the rumours are growing that he’s set for an exit in the summer.

Mikel Arteta denies those reports, insisting he’s positive the striker will stay with Arsenal and still wants to be in North London.

“No, I’m still very positive that Flo is going to stay with us and it’s what we’re trying to do as a club, and it’s what I’m trying to do as a manager,” Arteta said.

“As far as I know from last week, the player wants to be here, so I’m positive. I think he’s made some big progress in a few months.”

Unfortunately, reports suggest he isn’t going to get further chances in the first team until he signs a new deal. That’s put the two parties in a bit of a stand-off, as Balogun doesn’t want to sign unless he knows he’ll get chances.

You can understand Arsenal’s position, as they don’t want to use up valuable senior minutes developing a player who wants out.

For the time being, Balogun is stuck trying to prove himself in the u23s – where he’s just earned a PL2 Player of the Month nomination.