West Ham ‘main competitors’ in fight for £40m Arsenal star who has clear transfer ‘preference’

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal forward Balogun
Folarin Balogun in action for Arsenal.

According to reports, West Ham United have ‘entered the race’ for Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who is also being linked with Inter Milan and Monaco.

Balogun shone while on loan at Ligue Un outfit Reims last season as he scored 21 goals in the league.

The young forward has returned to Arsenal ahead of the 2023/24 campaign but he has been heavily linked with a move away from the Premier League club this summer.

The United States international has reportedly made it clear that he does not wish to discuss a new contract as he will be behind Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah in the pecking order if he sticks around this season.

Arsenal have spent over £200m on new signings this summer so they are likely to sell a couple of unwanted players before the transfer window closes.

Balogun is being targeted by AS Monaco and Inter Milan this summer and Arsenal have ‘turned down’ an offer from the French outfit. 

But according to The Independent, West Ham have ‘entered the race’ for the talented attacker.

The Hammers and Monaco are described as the ‘main competitors for Balogun as they are ‘the only two clubs capable of meeting Arsenal’s £40m-plus asking price’. The report adds.

‘The young striker’s preference had been to go to one of the Milan clubs, with Internazionale looking likeliest, but the Champions League finalists cannot get close to the fee.

‘If that is the case, he is open to either alternative option, although staying in the Premier League looks more attractive.

‘The fact Balogun enjoyed his productive period on loan at Reims last season nevertheless ensures he is willing to give Ligue 1 much greater consideration than other players would.’

READ MORE: Arsenal and Man Utd f*** it right up while a Palace sash delights in our 2023/24 away kit rankings

The report also claims that Arsenal are ‘seeking to make at least one more significant sale in order to bring in a number six as Mikel Arteta seeks to add more variety to his midfield’.

The problem for the Gunners is that ‘there aren’t many midfielders of that profile available for purchase at the moment’, with Southampton’s Romeo Lavia and Brighton’s Moises Caicedo valued at around £150m combined.

Earlier this summer, Balogun indicated that he is looking to keep his options open regarding a potential summer transfer.

“I obviously went away and the point was to prove I could play first-team football,” Balogun said.

“I feel I was able to do that and show people I can play at that level.

“I think with me coming back it’s not really much of a situation where I think I can need to try extra hard to prove something, I think it’s a decision that’s not really with me.

“Whatever happens I’m cool with it.”

READ MORE: Football365’s season predictions for 2023/24… Arsenal champions, Everton down, Hojlund flops