Arsenal are considering extending Folarin Balogun’s Gunners contract and loaning him for a further year to Stade de Reims, according to a report.

Reims' English forward Folarin Balogun (R) runs after the ball next to Strasbourg's French midfielder Dimitri Lienard (L) during the French L1 football match between RC Strasbourg Alsace and Stade de Reims at Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, eastern France, on August 21, 2022. (Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Reims’ English forward Folarin Balogun (R) runs after the ball next to Strasbourg’s French midfielder Dimitri Lienard (L) during the French L1 football match between RC Strasbourg Alsace and Stade de Reims at Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, eastern France, on August 21, 2022. (Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP via Getty Images)

French outlet Jeunes Footeux report that Mikel Arteta is keeping a very close eye on Folarin Balogun’s performances this season, and he’s keen to extend the contract of the young Arsenal striker.

According to the same outlet, Arsenal could then loan Balogun out to Reims again next year, assuming things continue to go well and the Ligue 1 side avoid relegation.

It’s certainly true that Balogun has made a start worthy of note on loan with Reims. With five Ligue 1 goals, he’s joint-fourth on the league’s top scorers list, and he added another goal for the England u21s on Tuesday.

StatsBomb also rank Balogun in the top-10 in Europe’s big-five leagues for On-Ball Value this season, suggesting he’s having a hugely positive impact for his side.

He’s joined in that top-10 by the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Erling Haaland, and he’s ahead of Robert Lewandowski and Harry Kane.

But the note of caution for that stat is the same as for the Jeunes Footeux report – it’s still very early in the season.

Reims' English forward Folarin Balogun celebrates after scoring a penalty kick during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and Clermont Foot 63 at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, northestern France, on August 14, 2022. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)
Reims’ English forward Folarin Balogun celebrates after scoring a penalty kick during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and Clermont Foot 63 at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, northeastern France, on August 14, 2022. (Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP via Getty Images)

Balogun’s form could dip, he could drop out of the side, Arsenal could suffer injuries or lapses in form that push them to bring him back into the fold next season, or a different club could take an interest in a loan or a permanent move.

Any of those outcomes could easily change the picture between now and May.

So whilst it’s not a bad idea to keep the possibility of a second year in France open, it’s probably not something Arsenal would be making a decision on yet.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.