- Balogun can choose between three nations
- USMNT battling England and Nigeria
- Has scored 16 goals in Ligue 1 this term
WHAT HAPPENED? Balogun, on loan at Reims from Arsenal, would become one of the USMNT's most hyped strikers if he chooses the Americans over England and Nigeria. Caretaker manager Anthony Hudson confirmed on Wednesday that U.S. Soccer was actively recruiting the player, who had previously been thought to be out of reach.
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WHAT THEY SAID: “All I’ll say, there is open dialogue with him and his team," Hudson told reporters. "That dialogue is continuing. That’s all I can say.”
AND WHAT'S MORE: On recruiting dual-nationals in general, Hudson added: "It's been really important to make sure we're doing all we can to engage with and, if there are any dual nationals out there that can help the team, we need to move forward and connect and engage and get these guys and see where what they want to do and try and encourage them by showing what we're doing. Hopefully, we get guys to come and come to us."
IN TWO PHOTOS:
Balogun is one of the breakout stars of Europe's top leagues this season.Getty Images
Maybe the USMNT can use Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner as a secret agent?Getty
THE BIGGER PICTURE: A combination of factors have put Balogun the USMNT in play for Balogun. The Americans are co-hosting the 2026 World Cup and need a star striker to lead them out with the whole world watching. Balogun might not get that same level of attention with England or even Nigeria. Plus, the 21-year-old was born in New York.
"We have to appeal to his ego which is the reality of this," former USMNT player Eric Wynalda recently said. "We should let him know that he will be a star. An absolute star at a World Cup, in his own country as he was born in New York. We need to lock him in with some sponsors too. He will be a star with us. He won't necessarily be a star with England. It will come down to how important it is for him to be in the spotlight. That's the only chance we've got to get him."
WHAT'S NEXT FOR BALOGUN? Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot acknowledged last month that Balogun was too good to stay at the club beyond this year - but he was proud of the player, not bitter.
“I think [signing him permanently] is impossible. 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,” Caillot told France Bleu. “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.”
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