Premier League • England

Move for lethal Arsenal forward touted amid Liverpool favourite’s struggles, as Arteta warms to surprise sale

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

A European giant are mulling a move for a clinical Arsenal attacker who would heap even more pressure on an ex-Liverpool striker who’s failed to meet expectations, per a report.

AC Milan lifted their first Serie A title in over a decade last season, though have struggled to keep pace with Napoli in their defence.

Napoli have won 13, drawn two and lost none in their first 15 matches. The end result is an impressive eight-point lead atop the table at present.

Part of Milan’s issue has been finding a regular goalscorer up front.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has missed the entire season to date after undergoing ACL surgery. Olivier Giroud only has five in 13 on the domestic front, while former Liverpool favourite Divock Origi has been an enigma.

The Belgian has just one goal to his name thus far amid a spate of minor injuries and fitness-related issues.

According to Calciomercato, Milan are on the hunt for their next starting centre-forward in 2023 and given Origi’s struggles and Giroud and Ibrahimovic’s ages (36 and 41 respectively), it’s easy to see why.

They report in Milan’s sights is Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun who is currently on a tear in France.

Balogun brace brings tally to double figures

The 21-year-old is thriving on a season-long loan at Reims, with his recent brace against Rennes bringing his tally to 10 goals in 16.

Balogun is an Arsenal academy graduate and clearly has what it takes to score at will in a top European league.

However, Mikel Arteta operates with a lone striker and both Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah are in his way. Jesus has been nothing short of sensational since arriving from Man City, while Nketiah only put pen to paper on a five-deal deal in June.

Furthermore, the flanks aren’t likely to prove a fruitful avenue for game-time in the near future either.

No route into Arsenal XI

Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli are already two of the Premier League’s most threatening wingers.

A move for Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhaylo Mudryk too would make the wide berths a complete no-go for Balogun. The Gunners’ first bid was rejected, though further attempts will follow.

Calcio state Milan are considering lodging a bid for Balogun in the summer upon expiry of his loan spell with Reims. His age, profile and the fact he’s scoring for fun in France reportedly make him the ‘ideal’ target for Milan.

It’s also claimed Arteta and co. ‘think about a farewell’. In other words, despite Balogun’s obvious talents, he may be a player Arsenal can recoup a handsome fee for and the current make-up of their squad means it’s unlikely he’ll be a regular at the Emirates any time soon.

No potential transfer fees are cited if Balogun were to move. How high his valuation soars – and thus whether he moves out of Milan’s reach – will likely hinge on how he fares in the second half of the campaign with Reims.

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