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Potential destinations for Folarin Balogun this summer

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A year is an awful long time in football, and that has certainly proved the case for Folarin Balogun.

This time last year, few would have known too much about the young Arsenal striker, but following an impressive loan spell with Stade Reims in Ligue 1, the 22-year-old is now one of the most exciting young forwards in Europe and a USMNT international.

Scoring 22 goals in 39 games for Reims last season, he is now being targeted by a number of top clubs. However, 90min understands that Arsenal value Balogun at £50m, which may put off some potential suitors.

The Gunners have told Balogun he can find a new club with no obvious route into the first team as Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and new signing Kai Havertz stand in his path. There will be many clubs knocking on his agent’s door this summer, but where he will end up is still unclear.

READ MORE FROM 90MIN’S TALKING TRANSFERS TEAM

Romelu Lukaku, Edin Dzeko

Inter need attacking reinforcements / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

Having come within 90 minutes of Champions League glory last season, things promise to be more complicated for Inter this term.

Andre Onana, Marcelo Brozovic, Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku will not be at the club next season as Simone Inzaghi is responsible for something of a rebuild in key areas this summer. One position that needs strengthening in the window is up front.

Having brought in Marcus Thuram on a free transfer to help Lautaro Martinez, Inzaghi is keen to reinforce his attacking unit further having lost two key centre-forward options. Balogun is one of the players Inter have been in contact with over a potential move to San Siro.

More similar in profile to Martinez than Thuram, Balogun could offer depth and quality in attack. The forward has huge potential and could develop further in Serie A under Inzaghi’s tutelage, but that £50m fee would likely be unworkable for Inter.

David Moyes

West Ham are yet to sign anybody this window / David Rogers/GettyImages

Considering West Ham are the only Premier League club yet to make a signing this window, David Moyes would probably be thankful to get anybody through the door at the London Stadium. The £105m departure of Declan Rice means the Hammers have a huge budget to work with, but they have still been unable to get any deals done.

Atalanta, who are a club linked with Balogun themselves, have agreed a deal for Irons forward Gianluca Scamacca after an unsuccessful stint with West Ham. Not only will this add another £26m to available funds, it will free up a space up front that needs filling.

Balogun could be the man to fill the gap, posing a completely different skillset to the departing Scamacca. Balogun’s pace and nous for finding space in the penalty area could make him a prime target to add more goals to a sometimes blunt West Ham side.

Paulo Fonseca

Paulo Fonseca could do with another forward / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

A return to Ligue 1 could be on the cards for Balogun, who would certainly need no time in readjusting to life in France.

Lille finished fifth last season and qualified for the Europa Conference League, but would likely find it difficult to raise the required funds to prise Balogun away from north London. Paulo Fonseca’s side have lost a couple of forward players in Timothy Weah and Jonathan Bamba this summer and need greater depth in attacking areas.

Balogun, however, may be too far out of their price range.

Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson is staying at Palace / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Jordan Ayew, Odsonne Edouard and Jean-Philippe Mateta are hardly the most awe-inspiring attacking trio in the Premier League. The three strikers have all struggled for consistency since arriving at Selhurst Park, and with Wilfried Zaha’s exit, Palace need more goals next year.

Michael Olise’s potential departure would only exacerbate this issue, but Balogun could be the solution. The 22-year-old’s ability to run in behind opposition defences makes him a completely different proposition to the Eagles’ current centre-forward options.

Similarly to Lille, however, Palace would be unlikely to splash £50m on untested Premier League player, knowing a better could be found deal somewhere else in Europe.

FBL-ENG-PR-BRENTFORD-ARSENAL

Balogun was linked with Brentford back in 2020 / ADRIAN DENNIS/GettyImages

Ivan Toney scored 20 goals in 33 Premier League games last season but will not be available to Brentford until January 2024 following a ban for breaching betting rules. While Bryan Mbuemo, Kevin Schade, and Yoane Wissa are all capable of providing goals for the Bees next year, they won’t be able to offer the same consistency as Toney.

Balogun showcased his ability to score weekly for Reims last season, although doing it in the Premier League is admittedly a different proposition.

Balogun is also a different profile striker to Toney and is not quite as adept at holding the ball up and winning physical battles. Given Brentford just spent around £20m on Schade following his move from Freiburg, they may not be in a position to spend big on Balogun.

On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Toby Cudworth is joined by Graeme Bailey to discuss the next steps in Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane hunt, Brighton rejecting another Chelsea bid for Moises Caicedo, who has had the most impressive transfer window so far & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!





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