Fulham ‘consider’ £50m Arsenal youngster as 14-goal striker ‘waits’ for Saudi Arabia ‘green light’

Jason Soutar
Arsenal's Folarin Balogun and Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Fulham are reportedly interested in signing Folarin Balogun as an Aleksandar Mitrovic replacement.

Fulham are eyeing up an unwanted Arsenal player to replace Saudi Arabia-bound striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, according to reports.

Mitrovic – who has also been linked with a move to Tottenham – only played 23 minutes in pre-season as he pushes to join Serbia teammate Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and ex-Wolves captain Ruben Neves at Al-Hilal.

The Cottagers reportedly received a derisory €30million (£25.6million) bid from the Saudi Pro League outfit earlier this summer.

Fulham were not entertaining offers in that region after Mitrovic’s impressive 2022/23 campaign in which he scored 14 goals in 24 Premier League appearances.

The Serbian international is eager for the payday in the middle east with personal terms already agreed.

It all went a bit quiet in recent weeks but Al-Hilal appear to have reignited their interest with a “new proposal on the table”, as per Fabrizio Romano.

A deal now seems imminent. On Wednesday evening, Romano posted on Twitter: “Understand Al Hilal are finalising move to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic!

“Deal now imminent, waiting for final approval as formal bid has been sent Mitrovic agreed terms with Al Hilal in July.

“He’s just waiting for Fulham green light to make it happen in the next hours.”

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Fulham will need to recruit a new striker if Mitrovic departs, even with Raul Jimenez already through the door.

Replacing the former Newcastle United striker’s output in front of goal will be a huge task but Marco Silva reportedly believes Arsenal and United States youngster Folarin Balogun is the man to fill that void.

According to the Daily Mail, Silva is ‘considering’ Balogun, who scored 22 goals on loan at French club Stade Reims last season.

The Gunners want £50m for the 22-year-old and have received enquiries from Inter and AS Monaco in recent weeks, with RB Leipzig also linked at the start of the summer transfer window.

The report does not give much away but it is added that Fulham are also interested in signing Manchester United outcast Eric Bailly and Benfica’s 22-year-old central defender Morato.

Balogun is clearly not in Mikel Arteta’s plans as the Arsenal manager looks to add funds to his transfer kitty after the big-money signings of Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber.

The American striker was not included in the Gunners’ squad for their Premier League opener at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

It is quite surprising to see Arteta not give Balogun much of an opportunity after such a successful season with Reims.

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