Premier League • England

Italian giants prepare offer for prolific Arsenal star as Arteta is forced into gut-wrenching call

Ben Stewart
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Recent reports have claimed that AC Milan are considering a move for an Arsenal star who has been in fine form this season while out on loan.

Folarin Balogun has had a great loan spell with Reims in Ligue 1. The 21-year-old has scored 20 league goals and has enjoyed his most prolific season to date.

Averaging a goal every 141 minutes, it’s easy to see why so many clubs are interested. Arsenal will have a decision to make on whether to cash in on Balogun or integrate him into the squad next season.

The youngster has even been linked with a move to West Ham, as the Gunners are looking at ways to fund a deal for Declan Rice.

Balogun won’t be short of offers if Arsenal do decide to sell him this summer though. AC Milan have been the latest club to register their interest in the striker.

According to Football Italia, Milan are preparing to open talks with his representatives. Given their forward options, it’s no surprise that Milan are chasing a young forward.

The Italian club have heavily relied upon 36-year-old Olivier Giroud this year. The former Arsenal forward has scored 16 goals, but Milan are keen on a younger alternative.

Along with Milan, German side RB Leipzig have also been linked with a move for Balogun. It is thought that Arsenal would be looking for over £26million to sell him this summer.

His contract with the Gunners runs until 2025 and so this could be the ideal time to cash in.

Mikel Arteta has big decision to make

Balogun’s numbers have been impressive in Ligue 1, but it is yet to be seen if he can cut it in the Premier League. It’s also worth noting that former Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette has scored 26 goals in France this season.

Arsenal are in need of another forward though and Balogun could be the answer Arteta is looking for. Gabriel Jesus has been a popular addition, but he is not seen as an out-and-out goalscorer.

Paul Merson recently discussed Arsenal’s need for a new striker with GiveMeSport. “Arsenal need a centre-forward,” the pundit explained. “They need someone who is going to get them 25 goals a season.

“I’m not having a go at Gabriel Jesus, he’s a very good player and he’s been a brilliant signing, but he’s not going to get you the goals you need on his own.

“They can’t be predictable. Every goal they score is a ‘good’ goal. They need to be able to score scrappy goals.”

Balogun would give Arsenal a different dynamic to that of Jesus. The 21-year-old tends to take more shots than Jesus and is perhaps more of a traditional forward.

With the Champions League being added to their schedule next season, Arteta will be keen on bolstering his squad at the top end of the pitch.

While they just fell short of the Premier League title in the end, there’s no doubt that this young squad is heading in the right direction.

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