Southampton are the latest team to express an interest in signing Arsenal starlet Folarin Balogun, who has been told he can leave the Emirates Stadium this summer after failing to agree a new contract.
Balogun has just one year remaining on his current deal, and despite Arsenal’s best efforts, he has refused to extend his contract.
The 18-year-old striker has been linked with a cut-price move to a number of sides across Europe, and according to the Daily Mail, the latest side to throw their hat in the ring is Southampton.
Brentford, who failed with a £5m bid for the Englishman back in January, remain interested in signing Balogun, while AC Milan have also expressed an interest.
Balogun is yet to experience senior football. He was an unused substitute in the FA Cup third round victory over Nottingham Forest in September and has instead done his best work at academy level, where he fired home ten goals in 15 games before the season was curtailed.
Southampton would likely be able to offer him the first-team football -which Balogun is looking for – and a departure would see him become the latest in a long line of academy stars who have left to breakthrough elsewhere.
Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry is the best example, but PSV Eindhoven’s Donyell Malen, Lyon’s Jeff Reine-Adelaide and AC Milan’s Ismaël Bennacer are further evidence of Arsenal’s struggles to hold on to their best young players.
The Gunners do still have Eddie Nketiah, the 21-year-old who has made an impressive impact on Mikel Arteta’s side, but Balogun is rated as one of the club’s top prospects and losing him is a huge blow.
However, what his exit will do is raise some much-needed transfer funds. While Arsenal can’t expect to make big money from selling Balogun, whatever small sum he does command will be added to Arteta’s transfer kitty this summer.
Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Partey is believed to be a target for the Gunners, while Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst was recently revealed to be on Arteta’s radar.
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