Premier League • England

Chelsea shock Arsenal with ‘real’ interest in £50m star Euro giants are struggling to finance

Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe with Arsenal badge

Folarin Balogun and Emile Smith Rowe

Chelsea have reportedly registered a ‘real’ interest in Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who Monaco have had a bid rejected for this summer.

The Blues have signed two central strikers in the summer transfer window. That was a necessity for them, and there are a few reasons that’s the case.

Firstly, they scored just 38 times across the 38 games in the Premier League last season – only four sides had a worse goals tally.

They also allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kai Havertz to leave, while Joao Felix headed back to Atletico Madrid after his loan spell was up.

Those players, and the goals output, Chelsea will hope, have been replaced by Nicolas Jackson and Christopher Nkunku. The pair shared the no.9 role in pre-season.

It’ll have been a blow to them, then, when Nkunku was injured before the actual season started. That leaves Jackson as potentially the only viable option available to Mauricio Pochettino, with Romelu Lukaku an Armando Broja still possibilities to leave.

The manager had already been considering bolstering the ranks up top before the injury.

It seems almost certain that he’ll do so between now and the end of the window after Nkunku was sidelined.

Chelsea register shock Balogun interest

Pochettino is looking close to home for a potential new signing. Indeed, Chelsea apparently want to sign Balogun from local rivals Arsenal.

That’s according to Sky Sports man Dharmesh Sheth.

“One development on Balogun – Chelsea have an interest in Folarin Balogun, no bid made but interest is real,” he said.

Arsenal are willing to sell the striker this summer, owing to the fact they have Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him in the peckin order, with Kai Havertz another potential option.

Given they don’t need Balogun, and he banged in 21 Ligue 1 goals while on loan at Reims last season, he’s a very saleable asset, and they could receive a good fee for him now.

Monaco still trying to sign striker

That fee is said to be £50million. Monaco are currently struggling to finance that deal, having bid below that twice and been rejected, according to reports.

Sheth suggests they’ll go back in, and will attempt to find a way to reach Arsenal’s asking price.

“Monaco, the French club, are expected to go back with an improved offer after having one bid rejected already,” he said.

“Arsenal we think are standing firm on their £50million valuation, we think Monaco are trying to work towards a deal whereby they structure it to get as close to that £50million as possible.”

If Chelsea were to lodge a bid of that first, though, they could snare Balogun. Despite being local rivals of Arsenal’s, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason the Gunners would reject a good offer.

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