Folarin Balogun's Fine Form For Reims Will Be A Huge Boost For Arsenal

The forward is the current leading marksman in Ligue 1 with 14 goals this season
12:01, 02 Feb 2023

Folarin Balogun moved ahead of Kylian Mbappe as the Ligue 1 top scorer by netting a hat-trick in Stade de Reims’ 4-2 victory over Lorient on Wednesday evening. His tally in the league now stands at 14, which means he has scored 54% of Reims' goals in the division this season.

The Arsenal loanee is enjoying life in France and he is starting to find his feet in senior football after an underwhelming loan spell with Championship club Middlesbrough last year.

The 21-year-old has been one of the most promising prospects at Arsenal for several years and his goalscoring numbers in the youth teams are the reason why. While there have been no doubts about Balogun reaching his potential, he has at times been unhappy and impatient at the Emirates Stadium due to a lack of opportunity under Mikel Arteta. This however has only spurred him on to break into the Gunners team which is currently thriving and in pole position to claim the Premier League title.


The striker has always stated that he can only improve as a player if he is playing and gaining valuable experience. The move to Reims this season was effectively a no-brainer for him because it was a chance for him to test the waters in one of Europe’s top five divisions and, as we can see, he is excelling. He is a player full of confidence and his contributions at Reims have not gone unnoticed.

He has been the French side’s leading man this term but his proficiency in front of goal has helped inspire the worldwide appreciation for their head coach William Still, the Football Manager-inspired coach who is enjoying success without a UEFA pro licence, which is reportedly costing the club £22,000 for each match he manages.

Still, while he may not have the required qualifications, Balogun will have no complaints because he is clearly aiding him in his development and, on current form, Arteta will find it difficult to overlook the youngster when he eventually returns.

Arteta will have a huge dilemma for his forward options come the start of next season with Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and now Balogun all showing their worth this year. It may be a headache for the Spaniard, but it will be a welcome one. Last summer, before Jesus’ arrival, Nketiah was the only contracted forward at the club who had consistent experience in the first team. Balogun had a disappointing loan at Middlesbrough and it was inevitable that he was going to be sent away again to try and find a club to help take him to another level.

Arsenal have always maintained their faith in the academy star and in 2021 they handed him a bumper four-year contract, so he will have two years left on that deal when he returns to north London at the end of this current loan spell.

Like Nketiah, Balogun has spent a lot of time studying the forward play of former Arsenal legend Ian Wright and, given how prolific he was during his Arsenal career, it comes as no surprise to see the two young Gunners find their scoring boots at senior level.

Questions have been asked over recent months about Arsenal’s squad depth to keep the momentum going in their surprising title charge, and some of those questions remain. But by the time pre-season for 2023-24 rolls around, Arteta will be blessed with the forward options at his disposal and all of a sudden he will be spoilt for choice when selecting players to lead the line. This will not only improve the Arsenal’s squad depth but will bolster their credentials as a major force in football once again.

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