Saturday, September 30, 2023

Chelsea Given A Boost In Their Pursuit Of This Arsenal Striker: Should Pochettino Snap Him Up?

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Ankit Seth
Ankit is a 24-year-old, aspiring to have his voice heard through what he writes. Charismatic and frankly moral, adhering to his principles and beliefs. Out to search for a purpose in life and yet to settle on that matter.

According to a report from Mirror, Folarin Balogun, the Arsenal striker, has expressed a strong desire for a surprising transfer to Chelsea. As Mauricio Pochettino strives to bolster his attacking choices, the Blues are prepared to intensify their pursuit of the Arsenal forward. Monaco and Fulham have also shown interest in the 22-year-old, who has been granted permission to depart this summer. However, Arsenal’s initial asking price of £50 million has posed a significant hurdle.

With the transfer window drawing to a close, there’s a growing likelihood that the Gunners might eventually be willing to find a middle ground with the Blues, possibly around £40 million, to facilitate the potential move.

Balogun’s Impressive Loan Spell In French Football

During his loan stint at Stade Reims last season, Balogun had a productive period, showcasing his capabilities as a consistent goal-scorer in Ligue 1. The 22-year-old American striker found the back of the net on 22 occasions and provided three assists in 39 matches for the French club across various competitions during the previous campaign.

Folarin Balogun
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 18: Folarin Balogun #26 of Arsenal FC looks on during the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge between Arsenal FC and MLS All-Stars at Audi Field on July 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Balogun played a pivotal role in the attacking third, averaging 3.5 shots, 1.0 key passes, and 0.9 dribbles per game in Ligue 1. However, his passing accuracy was slightly lower, completing 72.5% of his attempted passes in top-tier football (statistics sourced from whoscored).

Balogun’s contract with Arsenal is set to expire in the summer of 2025. This situation suggests that Mikel Arteta will aim to secure a reasonable return on the player’s value, indicating that they are unlikely to consider offers below £40 million.

Should Pochettino Bring Him To Chelsea?

Balogun possesses the ability to create a small amount of space for himself, enabling him to produce accurate shots on target. When he is in a confident state on the field, he can be a prolific goal scorer in the attacking zone. While his primary position is as a center-forward, he also has the flexibility to operate as a winger on either side if necessary.

The French talent has the capability to initiate effective plays for his teammates in the opponent’s half and can even execute promising dribbles with the ball in the forward areas. However, there is room for improvement in his distribution of the ball within the final third of the pitch.

At the age of 22, Balogun holds a promising future ahead of him. To realize his potential, he needs consistent playing time, which Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta might not be able to guarantee for him this season. Therefore, the Gunners have allowed him to leave before the conclusion of this summer’s transfer window. This situation presents the West London club with a notable opportunity to secure his services, supporting Mauricio Pochettino’s efforts to strengthen the attacking options at Stamford Bridge.

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