March 27, 2023

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Arsenal talent is Ligue 1 top scorer. He scores more than Mbappe and Messi

PSG are leading in Ligue 1, and the top scorer of the French championship plays for the modest Reims. Only Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen have scored more goals than Folarin Balogun, loaned from Arsenal, this season in the top 5 leagues. The 21-year-old Englishman has already scored 14 goals.

In 2023, Folarin already had a goal against PSG (brought a draw on the 96th) and a hat-trick for Lorient.

It’s time to take a closer look at the new high-scoring striker.

Folarin was born in New York, from the age of 8 – the star of the Arsenal Academy

The Balogun family moved to London when Folarin was 2 years old, before that they lived in New York. At the age of 8, Balogun was selected to the Arsenal academy, where he was one of the top scorers at every age. At the same time, he played for the youth teams of England – the guy has not yet been called up to the adult level. Balogun, by the way, can choose between England, the USA and Nigeria, where his parents come from.

For the basis of Arsenal, Balogun played only in the Europa League and insignificant cups. In the Premier League, Folarin broke through only thanks to the coronavirus epidemic – in the first round of the 2021/22 season. Then both Aubameyang and Lacazette fell ill, so they gave the young striker a chance. Balogun was not memorable in that game against Brentford.

But Folarin scored goals for the Gunners’ youth teams , so last winter he earned a loan to the championship – in Mildsbrough 3 + 3 in half a season. At the same time, he helped the team knock out Manchester United and Tottenham from the FA Cup.

In the summer of 2022, Premier League teams were already eyeing Balogun – Brentford offered about 5 million pounds, but Arsenal asked for 8 million. And as a result, they sent the striker on loan to a new country and a new championship.

Folarin in Ligue 1 goes out of his comfort zone and scores. This delighted even Henri

“I spent my entire career in London, so I understood that everything here would be new. I don’t know the language and I’m trying to learn it. It was important for me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I hope it will pay off,” Balogun’s adult reasoning was quoted in the fall in both England and France.

The reason was: 5 goals in the first 6 matches. Reims took Folarin as a replacement for Yugo Ekitik, who left for PSG, but the Englishman quickly surpassed the French talent. Ekitik scored 10 goals for the entire last season, and Balogun scored as many goals by the New Year.

And this should be taken into account that Reims was a problematic team at the start of the season – despite Balogun’s goals, the club had only 1 win in the first 11 rounds.

“I studied the team’s style of play and understood that I had to convert exemplary chances – we don’t have many of them,” Balogun admitted.

The situation improved slightly with the arrival of a new coach, Will Still. Under the leadership of the 30-year-old, Reims does not lose in the championship. Balogun also became easier. The new coach left Folarin as the only tip (before that they played with a couple of strikers), and this made the guy even more dangerous.

Balogun now accounts for 54% of the club’s goals in the league (14/26) – no other player in the top leagues makes such a contribution to the total number of goals scored by his team.

It’s easier with Still in everyday life – the coach speaks English with the loaned player. Still does not allow anyone to separate from the team: together with other players, the coach teaches Balogun French, and he tries very hard, but so far it is not working out well.

Balogun’s progress impressed even Thierry Henry, who was full of praise for the striker on loan from Arsenal. He praised both game progress and courage in choosing a league for development.

“I am very happy for him because the English rarely leave for other championships. Especially Londoners – it’s hard for them to leave their hometown. Balogun is a typical English player who runs well into free zones, but he lacked completion before,” Henry said.a

And then Balogun scored against PSG.

And celebrated the goal in the style of Henry. He wrote on social networks: “I spoke with Thierry before the game. That was the only way to show my respect.”

Arsenal’s new star is rising in France. Or is it still not?

Arsenal may sell Balogun. And it even makes sense

It seems to be logical that after an excellent loan to a fairly strong league, Balogun should return and get a chance at Arsenal, but not everything is so simple. His position at the club now includes Gaby Jesus, the sparkling Eddie Nketiah and the newly bought Leandro Trossard. Even if Folarin becomes the top scorer in Ligue 1, there will be a struggle for the base in the home team.

In January, Reims agreed to buy Balogun, but Arsenal refused. The striker has a contract until 2025, so next season will be decisive. English publications (though The Sun and Daily Mail) write that the club is considering selling Folarin for good money.

Yes, there is an option to let the guy go on another loan, but for this you need to renew the contract with him. No matter how Balogun proves himself in the next loan, a year before the end of the contract, the buyer will demand a discount on the player. The author of The Goal, Charles Watts, believes that in this case it is better to sell the striker this summer at the peak of value – as they once did with Joe Willock (he left for Newcastle for 25 million).

Folarin himself is not yet thinking about the future. He set himself the goal of scoring 20 goals in a season, which seems like a very realistic scenario.