Premier League

Folarin Balogun: Arsenal already have the answer to Gabriel Jesus injury problem

Robin Bairner
Folarin Balogun, Reims, 2022/23

An injury to Gabriel Jesus has left Arsenal shorthanded in attack and considering their options in the January transfer window, yet the Gunners have one of the most prolific young players in European football on their books who has been overlooked as a possible solution to the problem.

Folarin Balogun finds himself on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims, but with the Champagne club he is producing an impressive level that suggests he deserves his chance at the Emirates Stadium.

Reims are a mid-table club in France’s top flight, yet Balogun’s strong performances have elevated them well above the relegation zone. The 21-year-old has scored an impressive 10 goals in 16 outings for his club, the latest of which came against a Rennes side undefeated in 17 matches in a 3-1 victory on Thursday.

Balogun’s opener in the match was a smart volley while his second was an opportunist effort after the visiting goalkeeper had smacked a clearance against one of his own defenders.

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Balogun has exploded with Reims

Only PSG pair Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have scored more goals in the league this season than Balogun.

Balogun scoring numbers alone should be enough for Mikel Arteta to take note of what he has done during his second spell away from Arsenal in 2022, having impressed in a similar deal with Middlesborough in the Championship in the second half of last season.

Indeed, Balogun’s expected transfer value has risen from €8.7 million in the summer to €15m off the back of his strong displays with Reims.

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Given Arsenal’s shortage of forwards, he would provide a valuable alternative to the No.9 role, where Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli appear set to share the duties until the middle of March, when Jesus is slated to return.

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Of course, rupturing the loan agreement with Reims would be a complicated operation and is unlikely to be one that is free, yet the cost in comparison to signing a new striker is cheap, plus it would give Balogun the chance to show that he has what it takes to shine in the Premier League.

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