Folarin Balogun has opened up about his exit from Arsenal this summer and has laid out his ambitions for the season with AS Monaco.
Following a prolific loan spell with Reims last season, Balogun was in high demand this summer. The forward scored 22 goals for the French side and looked like the finished article.
Both Chelsea and Inter Milan were interested in the forward, but Monaco won the race for his signature in the end.
As Balogun wasn’t prepared to spend another campaign out on loan, the Gunners decided to cash in on the 22-year-old. They received a reported £34.3m from Monaco and also hold a 17.5 per cent sell-on clause in his contract.
Balogun himself has opened up on the move and has stated that it wasn’t a tough decision to join the French club this summer.
“In the end when Monaco were interested it was, really, an easy decision for me,” he told Offside With Taylor Twellman.
“I told my agent: ‘This is the only place I wanted to go.’ And luckily for me, he made it happen. I feel like, for me, it was important to obviously go to a side that’s competing to win stuff.
“They’re a really big team in the French league. And at the same time I want to play games. I want to be able to prove myself, and prove to people around that I’m capable of playing and being the main striker for a team.”
Monaco currently top Ligue 1 and Balogun will be looking to make an instant impact at his new side. The forward made his debut against Lens with a short cameo off the bench.
Earlier in the summer, Arsenal set their asking price at £50m, but French football expert Jonathan Johnson thinks that price tag was always going to be unrealistic.
“I think it’s an interesting deal. It’s a good one for all parties involved really, though I will say that Arsenal’s asking price earlier this summer was a little bit unrealistic, which saw other suitors such as RB Leipzig and the two Milan clubs cool their interest,” Johnson told Caught Offside.
“In the end, I think the Gunners were pretty fortunate really that Monaco needed to make the move for an attacking reinforcement.
“They had the injury to Breel Embolo and then there’s the uncertainty surrounding Wissam Ben Yedder and the rape charges against him. There’s also the fact that Monaco really need to get back into Europe next season.”