Premier League • England

Arsenal give resounding answer to opening striker bid as Arteta makes £45m statement to hunters

Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe with Arsenal badge

Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe

Arsenal have reportedly rejected the opening offer from Monaco for Folarin Balogun, as it did not meet the Gunners’ £45million valuation of the striker.

Balogun had a fantastic season for Reims in Ligue 1 last season. Indeed, the forward scored 21 goals in the league – the joint fourth-highest tally – and provided three assists.

As such, he returned to the Emirates from his loan spell in good form. However, he has a lot of forward talent to contend with now that he’s back at his parent club.

Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and now Kai Havertz are all above him in the pecking order up top. The former is currently injured and the latter started up top in the Community Shield, despite suggestions he’ll be used as a midfielder this season.

Mikel Arteta is seemingly reluctant to blood Balogun in the side, as he didn’t even make the squad for that game.

In fact, with such a wealth of options up top, it seems Arsenal are willing to see the back of the 22-year-old.

They’ve reportedly set an asking price of £50million for him. While that doesn’t ensure he’ll be allowed to leave, it does mean the Gunners would consider letting him go.

Inter Milan are keen on him, but reports suggest they’d hope to snare the forward for around £30million.

Arsenal knock back opening Balogun bid

Lens are also apparently keen on making Balogun their player. However, it’s another Ligue 1 side, Monaco, that have made the most concrete steps towards the deal.

The Athletic reports they made a verbal offer after they faced Arsenal in a pre-season match, and followed that up with a written proposal – both have apparently been rejected.

The Daily Mail builds upon that, stating the offer ‘fell short’ of Balogun’s £50million valuation.

However, they do suggest £45million may be accepted. As such, it would seem Monaco’s offer was below even that fee, hence it being knocked back.

Arteta makes Balogun statement in rejection

Given Monaco’s offer has been rejected, both Inter and Lens are still in the running. As such, any of the three sides may be able to sign the striker this summer.

However, Arteta has made a statement in rejecting two bids from Monaco, the verbal and then written ones. It’s clear he’s not going to accept an offer he does not feel is worth it.

He’d seemingly rather have Balogun to call upon on occasions when he needs him, rather than a fee below his worth.

That allows him more depth in his squad than he had last season, which could help Arsenal down the stretch if they’re in title contention.

Indeed, last term saw the Gunners struggle when it got to crunch time, especially due to injuries at the back. While Balogun plays up top, the premise is the same: more options lead to a better chance of winning games when players are tired or injured.

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