According to a French football expert, Premier League side Arsenal were “fortunate” to sell United States international Folarin Balogun for over £34m.
Balogun made a name for himself last season as he shone while on loan at Ligue Un outfit Reims. He was among the league’s top scorers as he netted 21 goals in 37 appearances for the French team.
The USA international returned to Arsenal during pre-season but he was always likely to move elsewhere this summer because Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Kai Havertz were ahead of him in the pecking order under Mikel Arteta.
Chelsea, Fulham, Inter Milan and RB Leipzig have all been linked with Balogun this summer but Monaco won the race to sign him. They have splashed out around £34.3m to buy him from Arsenal, who have negotiated a 17.5% sell-on clause into the deal.
French football expert Jonathan Johnson thinks Arsenal’s initial £50m asking price was “unrealistic” and they were “fortunate” that Monaco “needed to move for an attacking reinforcement.
“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.
“Leipzig ended up moving for Lois Openda instead, while Milan were never likely to be able to afford it after moving for Christian Pulisic, so that ended up keeping options slightly limited for Arsenal.
“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.”
Johnson later points explains why Balogun at Monaco will be an “exciting storyline to watch this season”.
“Given the interest there’s been in Balogun after the way he performed at Reims on loan, there is the possibility that he could be sold on for a profit if he has a good season at Monaco and they don’t quite make it in terms of European qualification,” Johnson added.
“I think it’s a good fit and a chance for him to develop his game further in Ligue 1, though possibly with different demands on him tactically.
“We saw him play very well as a poacher and a predatory finisher under Will Still last season, whereas I expect Adi Hutter will require him to chip in in terms of the build-up play more. I think it’s going to be an exciting storyline to watch this season.”