Arsenal continue to seek a club-record transfer fee for striker Folarin Balogun, according to Charles Watts, and the next seven days will be crucial in determining the United States international’s future.
Despite a goal-laden spell with Reims in France’s Ligue 1 last season, concrete bids meeting Arsenal’s £50m asking price have not materialised this summer.
Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur remain interested in the 22-year-old forward while overseas interest remains in the shape of Monaco. Balogun has not been involved in Arsenal’s Premier League campaign thus far as the club work tirelessly behind the scenes to get a deal done.
“Everyone’s working towards getting a move for Balogun,” says Watts. “That’s been bubbling away for a while now. I think this is going to be a really big week in terms of Balogun’s future.
“Arsenal are expecting some decent offers to arrive in the next seven days for Balogun and we’re getting towards the end game with him now.
“There’s strong interest in England.
“I believe Chelsea have certainly been sniffing around Balogun but I don’t think there’s been a bite from them yet. [Mauricio] Pochettino has talked this week about them needing a striker, so we’ll see if they follow up that interest with an offer.
“Tottenham are another club who had been monitoring the situation. Monaco have already had bids turned down and Arsenal are expecting another one from them. That’s why we’re not seeing Balogun at all at the moment with Arsenal.
“While this is going on, he has not been included in the matchday squads, but I do think this is a big week.”
Fulham a good move for Balogun
Aleksandr Mitrovic’s decision to ditch Fulham for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia leaves the Cottagers in the market for a high-quality replacement and a cross-London switch is one that Watts recommends.
“Fulham would be a really good move for him,” says Watts. “He’s got to be really careful with who he chooses. He’s very ambitious guy. You can look at a club like Chelsea and think that’s a brilliant move but you don’t want to get this move wrong.
“If you’re him, you don’t want to push to leave Arsenal, and then choose the wrong club and end up not playing enough and end up being a frustrated figure a year down the line.
“He needs to choose the right club, there’s a gaping hole there at Fulham with Mitrovic gone. If Balogun goes, Arsenal want a club record deal, that £50m figure, which Arsenal haven’t received for a player before.
“And that’s what they’re looking at for him. Whether Fulham go to that because they basically have to spend all the Mitrovic money on a relatively untested kid, we’ll have to wait and see.
“Should it happen, then I think that’d be a really, really good move for Balogun and potentially a better move at this stage of his career, than going into a club like Chelsea.”
Balogun has scored two goals in 10 appearances for Arsenal and is contracted to the club until summer 2025.