Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is reportedly poised to join Ligue 1 side Reims on loan for the 2022-23 season.
The 21-year-old Nigerian born is yet to cement his place as a regular in Mikel Arteta’s first team, having seen his path blocked by Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in recent years.
With Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah set to battle for the number nine spot this term, Balogun’s opportunities for action in the starting XI would be limited once again.
The England Under-21 international spent time out on loan with Middlesbrough during the second half of last season, during which he registered three goals and three assists in 18 appearances across all tournaments.
Balogun has been expected to go out on a temporary deal once again to help aid his development, and Ligue 1 will apparently be the youngster’s next destination.’
According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Reims are edging closer to agreeing a loan deal with Arsenal for Balogun, who will join for the entirety of the upcoming campaign.
Romano adds that the New York-born striker was presented with opportunities to remain in the Premier League, but he would be keen to test himself abroad.
Balogun’s medical with Les Rouges et Blancs could supposedly take place in the early stages of next week, and he would arrive at the Stade Auguste-Delaune to replace Hugo Ekitike, who has joined Paris Saint-Germain on loan.
A buy option of €35m (£29.4m) is understood to have been included in PSG’s deal for Ekitike, but Balogun’s loan contract with Reims is not expected to include a purchase clause.
Balogun has risen through the youth ranks at Arsenal since joining in 2011 but has only made 10 senior appearances for the Gunners so far, claiming two goals and one assist.
Folarin Balogun ‘close to Reims loan move’
All of Balogun’s first-team goal contributions came in the 2020-21 Europa League, and he also scored 13 goals in 11 Premier League 2 appearances in the first half of the 2021-22 campaign.
Arsenal have allowed numerous prospects to go out on loan for the upcoming season, including Mika Biereth, Marcelo Flores, Tyreece John-Jules and Omar Rekik.
Senior left-back Nuno Tavares has also signed for Marseille on a season-long loan deal, but his first appearance in Saturday’s friendly with AC Milan saw him receive a red card, which was later rescinded.
After winning the Emirates Cup with a 6-0 thumping of Sevilla on Saturday, Arsenal return to Premier League action with Friday’s opener against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.