- Balogun expected to leave Reims
- In-form striker could return to Arsenal
- But will be at big club regardless, says Reims president
WHAT HAPPENED? Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot acknowledged that his club likely wouldn't be able to keep Balogun beyond 2022-23, even though they would love to have him back. His form (15 goals in 23 Ligue 1 matches) is simply too good for the mid-table team, Caillot said, and he expects the player to move on to greater heights this summer.
WHAT THEY SAID: “I think [signing him permanently] is impossible,” Caillot told France Bleu. “The rules of the game are clear: these are boys that, when they join us, know that they’re here to improve and that it’s a step for them. So even if I’m not deciding for him, either Folarin will return to his club to have his chance, he’s loaned out, or transferred to a very big club.
“He is a player that should go even higher. So obviously we’ll ask him if he feels good here, and at his club, but I think that now, he will need to take a step up. We are already working on life after Balogun, the day when he will leave our club. But if he and the club are open to another year at Reims, we’ll do everything to make it happen.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The 21-year-old appears to have completed the transition from promising prospect to first-team star, but Arsenal already have a deep cast of attackers and may not have enough room to welcome him back into the fold. They may look to put off a final decision on him by loaning him again, or could sell him to raise funds for midfield reinforcements.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
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WHAT NEXT FOR BALOGUN? A decision on his international allegiance could be made in the next year, and his excellent play at Reims will likely mean a strong push from England for him to choose the Three Lions. The USMNT and Nigeria, however, could offer more playing time and room to build a legacy, even if they haven't performed as well in recent international tournaments.