Arsenal have already turned down a request from Stade de Reims to sign Folarin Balogun permanently, according to a report.
Mark Irwin reports for The S*n that manager Will Still pushed Stade de Reims to ask if they could sign Folarin Balogun permanently in the January transfer window.
Arsenal rejected the request, but Irwin claims the Gunners haven’t yet decided what to do with the forward.
The suggestion is that Arsenal won’t be short of offers, but they’ll have to decide whether to keep him and extend his contract to make him part of Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans or to cash in on his impressive season in Ligue 1.
The most likely option is that they’ll keep him for the start of next season, according to the report.
There’s one error in the article worth correcting, however. Irwin writes that Balogun only has 18 months on his Arsenal contract, but this is not the case.
When signing his contract extension with Arsenal, Balogun himself confirmed that his new deal lasts until 2025, hashtagging his Instagram post “#Balogun2025”.
So with a deal lasting until June 2025, that’s 28 months, not 18. A little more wiggle room for Arsenal.
As I see it, Arsenal have three realistic options with Balogun.
The first would be to keep him and integrate him into the squad, pushing for a contract extension.
The second would be to loan him out to a Premier League club, the only loan you could realistically class as another step forward for him.
The third would be to sell, but only for a large bid. This is a 21-year-old with 15 goals in a big-five league by early February, Arsenal should stand firm against any underwhelming offers.
Keeping Balogun and letting his contract run down, trying to loan him out to Europe again, or selling low, feel like unnecessary risks and/or a failure to capitalise on the opportunity his strong season is presenting.
Arsenal need to either work on getting him involved for Arteta’s side (whether that’s immediately or by giving him a loan to adapt him to Premier League football), or they need to sell.