June 18, 2024

Corner Flag with Crystal Palace Crest Editorial Image - Image of game,  cosmin: 244137640

Folarin Balogun Arsenal future takes surprise twist as Crystal Palace plot £34m transfer swoop

Arsenal have a decision to make in attack with Folarin Balogun’s future uncertain at the Emirates Stadium as a number of clubs are interested in signing the Hale End graduate

Crystal Palace are said to have identified Arsenal star Eddie Nketiah as their number one transfer target this summer. The Hale End graduate is considered to be second choice striker in Mikel Arteta’s squad – behind Gabriel Jesus.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Folarin Balogun #26 of Arsenal F.C.looks on at a play during a game between Arsenal and Major League Soccer at Audi Field on July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jose L Argueta/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Folarin Balogun’s return from a successful loan spell at Reims has now given Mikel Arteta a headache regarding his striker options. football.london understands that Balogun is available at the right price, with some reports suggesting that the Gunners value the USMNT international at £50million.

The 22-year-old trained separately from the rest of Arteta’s squad on Monday, perhaps a hint regarding his future at the Emirates Stadium. Balogun was part of the group for their initial warm ups and stretches but as the rest of the squad went off to do drills involving the ball, he went back into the dressing room before emerging to do shuttle runs with a fitness coach on his own.

football.london understands that Inter Milan hold an interest in the young striker – whilst clubs in the Premier League are also said to be keen on signing Balogun this summer. However, it seems Palace are plotting a move to sign Nketiah instead which may see Balogun stay at Arsenal – if the 24-year-old does swap the Emirates Stadium for Selhurst Park.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: Folarin Balogun #26 of Arsenal F.C.looks on at a play during a game between Arsenal and Major League Soccer at Audi Field on July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jose L Argueta/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

TheEaglesBeak stated on social media that Palace’s move for Nketiah will rely on the sale of Jean-Philippe Mateta to aid in facilitating the deal financially. The Eagles had tried to sign the Hale End graduate back in January 2022 and are said to have reignited their interest in Nketiah this summer.

The 24-year-old is valued at €40million (£34.2m) by CIES Football Observatory – £16million less than the Gunners are hoping to recoup for Balogun if a formal approach is made. Nketiah scored nine goals and provided a further three assists in 39 appearances for Arsenal last season but led the line well in Jesus’ absence following the World Cup.

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READ MORE: Arsenal news and transfers LIVE: Done deal, Romeo Lavia bid, Kudus move, Partey decision

Whilst Balogun would bring in a higher fee that could be reinvested into key positions – such as midfield and right-back – Nketiah’s sale would potentially give Arsenal a stronger option to rotate with Jesus in attack following the 22-year-old’s impressive displays in France last term. Arteta has a decision to make but has the comfort in knowing that new signing Kai Havertz can also cover at striker if neccessary, along with the likes of Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Martinelli.

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