Exclusive: Arsenal pencil in critical Folarin Balogun talks as striker makes choice between England and USA

Folarin Balogun celebrating for Reims

Arsenal are ready to hold talks with Folarin Balogun this summer – but TEAMtalk can reveal a decision looks to have been made at least on the player’s international future with the USA battling England for his services.

The on-loan striker has been in the headlines this season after a hugely-productive spell on with Reims. Indeed, he has 17 goals and one assist from 27 appearances, putting him alongside some prestigious names in the Ligue 1 scoring charts.

Currently joint third, he only trails Kylian Mbappe and Jonathan David by two goals, with the pair both on 19.

As such, that form has seen the 21-year-old star linked with a series of high-profile moves.

To that end, the likes of AC Milan, Inter Milan and most recently Bayern Munich are all seemingly keen to take him off Arsenal’s hands.

Mikel Arteta, though, rates Balogun highly and the loan move was granted with the intention of sharpening his game. To that end, the move to Will Still’s side has worked to perfection.

However, he remains down the pecking order at Arsenal with both Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him.

And the chance to make a fast buck on the 21-year-old will potentially give the Gunners something to ponder this summer.

As such, we can reveal Balogun will hold talks with Arteta and sporting director Edu this summer to determine his future.

As it stands, all possibilities remain on the table, with Balogun’s own feelings likely to influence any such decision.


Balogun ready to choose USA over England

However, it is not just his club future which is on the line with a more pressing issue over which country he will play for at international level.

The New York born striker has 13 caps for England Under-21s, underlining his qualities with seven goals at that level.

However, the USA are pushing hard to persuade Balogun to pledge his international future to them.

Now TEAMtalk can reveal that the 21-year-old is ready to make a commitment to USMNT ahead of England. We understand their officials are confident they can persuade him to commit to them.

The FA continue to battle hard to convince him and are continuing talks with him and his people.

England boss Gareth Southgate spoke about the player over the weekend, but insists he is no immediate hurry to fast-track him into the senior set-up.

Southgate said: “I haven’t yet (spoken to Balogun) because to this point, he has been with the under-21s and very happy.

“Clearly other nations have been quite aggressive in their recruitment and what they are offering.

“That, in my experience of history, has sometimes been really successful for the players and sometimes hasn’t worked out. I’ve seen countries cap players at 16 or 17 and they’ve disappeared.”

Southgate loyal first to proven Prem players

Southgate continued: “In the end, as a player, I think you back yourself but you have got to ultimately make the decision.

“We would like him to give it some time and if he is progressing the way he is and continues that progression there will be opportunities for him but I cannot offer him that this week.

“I think if we did, I don’t think that would be fair on Ivan Toney who has scored the goals he has in the Premier League.

“Flo we like. He has obviously not had an opportunity in the Premier League, yet, so we have to weigh up those goals to Ivan, for example, or Ollie Watkins, or Eddie Nketiah who has done really well with the opportunity he has had at Arsenal.”

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