Chelsea show surprise ‘interest’ in £50m Arsenal star who ‘wants permanent transfer away’

Jason Soutar
Folarin Balogun during a friendly match against MLS All-Stars.
Folarin Balogun during a friendly match against MLS All-Stars.

Chelsea have “interest” in £50million-rated Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun, according to Sky Sports correspondent Dharmesh Sheth.

Balogun had a very productive 2022/23 season on loan at French club Stade Reims, scoring 22 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions.

Many Arsenal fans expected Balogun to be given a chance under Mikel Arteta when he returned for pre-season but he was only on the pitch for 62 minutes before failing to make Arsenal’s squad for their Premier League opener against Nottingham Forest.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a host of clubs over the summer with West Ham United and Fulham recently joining the race alongside Inter and AS Monaco.

German outfit RB Leipzig had been interested before landing Lois Openda from Monaco’s Ligue 1 rivals RC Lens.

The Gunners’ £50m asking price has proven to be a bit of a stumbling block with the player eager to find a new club after his 22-goal season was not enough to see him leapfrog Eddie Nketiah and/or Gabriel Jesus in Arteta’s pecking order.

West Ham boss David Moyes is eager to sign a new No. 9 after letting Gianluca Scamacca join Atalanta. The Hammers are also interested in Montpellier’s Elye Wahi.

Meanwhile, Fulham are expected to pursue a striker if Aleksandar Mitrovic gets his desired move to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal and Balogun has been mooted as a potential replacement.

And it has been revealed that another Premier League club based in London “have an interest” in signing the young striker.

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Rather surprisingly, the club in question is Chelsea, who are also in the market for a striker despite the signing of Villarreal’s Nicolas Jackson.

This is according to Sky Sports journalist Sheth, who provided an update on Monaco and Inter’s interest in the United States international.

“Monaco remain in talks with Arsenal over the signing of Balogun,” Sheth said on Sky Sports News. “The French club are expected to go back in with an improved offer after having one bid rejected already.

“Arsenal are standing firm on their £50m valuation. We think Monaco are trying to work towards a deal whereby they structure it to get as close to that £50m as possible.

“Inter Milan were interested. It’s unclear whether or not they are going to go back in for him. One reason being that the price is pretty prohibitive for them, and also their head coach Simone Inzaghi isn’t 100 per cent certain whether he is the type of profile he wants to bring in.

“He has entered the final two years of his contract and has made it clear to Arsenal he wants a permanent move away.”

Sheth then confirmed Chelsea’s surprise “interest”.

“Chelsea have an interest in Folarin Balogun,” he added. “No bid made but interest is real.”

Arsenal have obviously been looking to receive £50m for Balogun but will surely ask for a bit more from a club competing with them at the top of the Premier League.

The Gunners have signed plenty of players from the Blues in recent years but it is not often Chelsea buy someone from their London rivals.

The last player to move from north to west London is Olivier Giroud in 2018.

Since then, Arsenal have signed David Luiz, Willian, Jorginho, and Kai Havertz from the Blues.

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