Arsenal FC has turned down an offer from Inter Milan for striker Folarin Balogun. The young American international is facing an uncertain future in North London following his impressive breakthrough season with Reims last year, where he scored 21 goals in 37 Ligue 1 matches.
Balogun has been integrated into Mikel Arteta’s squad during their pre-season friendlies. However, he may find it challenging to secure a regular starting spot in The Gunners’ first team next season. Competition in the attacking third is fierce, with players like Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, and Leandro Trossard vying for starting roles, and new signing Kai Havertz providing additional firepower up top.
Despite this uncertainty, Balogun has ruled out the prospect of another loan move from Arsenal. With only two years left on his contract, the 22-year-old player could command a substantial fee in the summer transfer market.
Several clubs, including Marseille, Monaco, RB Leipzig, and AC Milan, have reportedly been monitoring Balogun’s future, but Inter seems to be at the forefront of the race. However, the Nerazzurri have encountered a setback in their pursuit of Balogun. According to Sportmediaset via FC Inter News, Arsenal has rejected their initial proposal.
Inter approached The Gunners with a fixed fee of €35 million plus an additional €5 million in bonuses. However, Arsenal is holding out for as much as £50 million for the young striker.
Inter’s first bid was believed to be what they had prepared to pay for Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku, who was widely expected to rejoin Simone Inzaghi’s squad permanently after his loan spell in 2022-23. However, Lukaku’s return to San Siro now appears to be in doubt, as he is rumored to be in talks with Serie A rivals Juventus.
Inzaghi has already bolstered Inter’s attacking options by signing Marcus Thuram on a free transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach. He is also reportedly considering alternatives to Balogun, with West Ham United’s Gianluca Scamacca and Udinese’s Beto among the strikers on Inter’s list. However, a proposed move for Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata is believed to have fallen through.
Born in New York, Balogun joined Arsenal’s youth system in 2011. However, the promising striker has only made ten senior appearances for the club, scoring two goals and providing one assist.
Arsenal boss Arteta recently acknowledged the need to trim his strong 30-man squad, which he deemed “unsustainable.” So far, only Granit Xhaka, Pablo Mari, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have been moved on.
Arsenal will wrap up their pre-season preparations with the Emirates Cup match against AS Monaco on Wednesday before facing Manchester City in the Community Shield on August 6th.