Ligue 1 club Nantes reportedly ‘regret’ not signing Arsenal attacker Folarin Balogun on loan this summer amid his brilliant start to the new season.
Balogun joined the Gunners when he was just eight years old and he has grown to be one of the best players they have coming through at the moment.
The 21-year-old made his senior debut for Arsenal towards the end of 2020 in a group game against Dundalk in the Europa League.
The striker has played a total of ten times for Arsenal over the past couple of years and he has netted two goals.
Balogun was sent out on loan to Middlesbrough last term with the aim being to help the Championship side earn promotion.
The youngster netted three goals in 20 appearances overall as Boro ultimately missed out on a place in the play-offs.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insisted earlier this year that Baloun is “part of” their future:
“I think Flo is doing what he needed to do, and probably we should have done it a little bit earlier,” Arteta said back in March.
“It’s always a bit difficult to time when is the best moment to do that. But he’s having the right exposure, he’s playing in a different formation and sometimes a different role under a manager and a club with huge history.
“You can see how he is developing. This is going to give us more detail about what is the next best move for him to keep developing, because he has developed and we want him to be part of our future.
“He needed a pathway, he needs that exposure. He needs to go through good and difficult moments, and he needs to be able to adapt and find himself in the dressing room, and develop the importance that is required to play at this level. I think he is doing all of that really well.”
Ligue 1 has been a good honing ground for Arsenal starlets recently, with William Saliba being the prime example.
Reims have brought him in for the season and he has replaced ex-Newcastle target Hugo Ekitike who has joined PSG.
Balogun has hit the ground running in France, scoring five goals and grabbing one assist in six games. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar are the only players with more goals than him in the league.
His form has caught the eye of Reims’ rivals, with L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) reporting that Nantes ‘regret’ not signing Balogun in the summer.
The report states that Nantes had Balogun ‘in their sights’ but the club’s coach (Antoine Kombouare) and sports coordinator (Philippe Mao) were ‘particularly opposed to his arrival’.