Arsenal have finalised the loan of Folarin Balogun to Ligue 1 club Stade de Reims for the season. This is the Englishman’s second loan transfer since making his debut for Arsenal.
Balogun can be encouraged by his new move because Reims previously had a striker in their ranks in Hugo Ekitike. The youngster was also a striker with a lot of potential, which led to him developing and landing a big-money move to Ligue 1 champions Paris-Saint Germain.
Ekitike’s rapid ascent to being an outstanding striker at the age of 20 exemplifies the quality development opportunity that Reims provides. Balogun can learn from this and benefit from this critical loan move.
At the age of 20, Ekitike was sold to European heavyweights PSG for €35 million (£30 million). The youngster will now play with Lionel Messi and Neymar for France’s greatest team.
This also means that Balogun has big shoes to fill, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for him to grow and distinguish himself as another youngster with incredible striker potential to join the Reims ranks.
Since the start of last season, the Englishman’s game time has been limited, resulting in repeated loans. His Arsenal breakthrough has been hampered by the addition of Gabriel Jesus and the contract extension agreed by Eddie Nketiah, which has placed Balogun third in the club’s starting striker pecking order.
Balogun has already had a loan move during his brief first-team career, having joined Championship club Middlesbrough at the end of last season. This is why it is critical that the next best step in his development is another loan in exchange for the promise of game time.
Last season, the Englishman began Arsenal’s first Premier League game against Brentford, and it appeared that he had finally cracked into the Arsenal squad. He was unable to make another start, though, and was eventually loaned out to Middlesbrough.
Despite not making a first-team debut, the teenager performed so well in under-23 competitions that, prior to signing his new Arsenal contract last summer, a number of prominent teams throughout Europe, notably RB Leipzig, expressed interest in gaining his services.
With first-team experience in the lesser divisions under his belt, a stint in a top division where he plays regularly will undoubtedly benefit his development. Reims could be a good location for the you