Premier League • England

Pochettino ecstatic with Chelsea ‘close’ to striker signing as Arsenal demands are met; boss ‘convinced’ he’s worth it

Chelsea linked with Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun

Chelsea linked with Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun

Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Folarin Balogun from Arsenal after feeling the pressure to meet the £50m asking price, according to reports.

Arsenal have been inviting offers for Balogun while his stock is high this summer, following on from his breakout season on loan in Ligue 1 with Reims. Chelsea have established themselves as one of his main admirers after an injury to Christopher Nkunku heightened their need for another new striker.

TEAMtalk was told this week by Charles Watts that Arsenal are demanding a club-record sale worth £50m to let Balogun go. And now, an update from La Gazzetta Dello Sport in Italy indicates that Chelsea are willing to pay up.

The report claims Chelsea are ‘close’ to signing Balogun from Arsenal, with negotiations between the two London rivals ‘well underway’.

Chelsea have ‘decided’ to meet the £50m asking price due to their ‘urgent need for reinforcements’, it is emphasised. Furthermore, their head coach Mauricio Pochettino is said to be ‘convinced’ he needs a new striker.

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Therefore, talks are progressing ‘quickly’, helped by the fact that Balogun believes he could earn regular gametime under Pochettino.

He is also the subject of interest from Monaco, who are well aware of what he can do after his exploits in Ligue 1 last season, but the chance to make an impact in the Premier League now seems to be on the 22-year-old’s mind. Other sources have suggested he may even have agreed personal terms with Chelsea.

Chelsea choose Balogun over Vlahovic

The reason this news is coming from La Gazzetta Dello Sport is twofold. First, Balogun has been a long-term target for Inter. In addition, another of Chelsea’s options in attack would be a swap deal with Juventus including Dusan Vlahovic and Romelu Lukaku.

However, the Serbian striker they could sign in the exchange ‘has never fully convinced’ Chelsea, per the report – especially since they would have to pay €40m (over £34m) on top of Lukaku.

Pochettino seems to have decided Balogun could well be the better investment and Chelsea are willing to put the money on the table to get their man.

The immediate challenge for Balogun will be to pick up from where he left off in France and finally make an impact in English football. He only has two goals to his name for Arsenal and a previous loan spell in the Championship with Middlesbrough produced only three goals as well.

Chelsea have encountered plenty of their own issues up front in recent years. Players who have been prolific elsewhere have often failed to hit the mark at Stamford Bridge, for a variety of reasons.

If they do complete the signing of Balogun, they will be hoping to have finally found the right match for the long term.

As for what happens with their attempts to offload Lukaku, their negotiations with Juventus have stalled, since the Serie A side would need to sell Vlahovic first, so there will have to be a frantic search for a solution.