By Dan Critchlow
Though he’s now gone a couple of games without a goal, Folarin Balogun has made a strong start to his loan spell with Stade de Reims.
The striker has six goals in his first 11 Ligue 1 matches, and his recent “drought” was against the top-two teams in the league, Paris Saint-Germain and FC Lorient. He also has an assist and a penalty won from his time in France so far.
That form is understandably raising speculation about the Arsenal academy graduate’s future, both in terms of his club and his country.
Though Balogun has primarily represented England at youth level, he’s eligible for the USMNT and Nigeria. As for his club, he’s set to return to Arsenal next summer, where he has a deal until 2025, but there are likely to be suitors for him.
Balogun discussed the situation with the French media this weekend.
“Above everything, I feel English, but I also have an American side, because I have family in New York and I love going there,” Balogun told L’Equipe (via GFFN).
“I have my grandmother and cousins in Lagos (Nigeria), even if I haven’t been there since I was very young. My mother sometimes speaks to me in Yoruba and it is important to me.
“Just like my future at club level, I am not closing any doors regarding international selection. All options remain open.”
A permanent move to Stade de Reims has already seemingly been dismissed for Balogun, but there may be others bidding for him next summer.
With Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, along with a host of strong academy options, Balogun will face competition at Arsenal. Right now, he looks to be capable of competing with any of them, but there’s a long season ahead.
Source: Daily Cannon.