Liverpool want Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun, according to reports. Here’s the low-down on a very-promising 19-year-old goalscorer.
The Athletic claim Liverpool like the look of Balogun. The publication say it is looking increasingly likely he will depart as a free agent.
Balogun is considered one of the brightest prospects at Arsenal, but he is yet to commit his future to the club.
The teenager’s current deal at the Emirates Stadium is next summer, and Balogun is free to begin communication with foreign clubs from January 1.
So, that’s the low-down on the report – but who exactly is Balogun?
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Born in the United States, Balogun moved to England at the age of two where his family settled in London.
Having joined Arsenal as a 10-year-old, Balogun scored 28 goals in 28 matches across all youth competitions last season as the Gunners won the Under-18s Premier League title.
He was later promoted to the club’s under-23 set-up where he then scored 10 goals while registering four assists in 15 appearances in Premier League 2.
Balogun has represented both England and USA at U18 level and is also eligible to play for Nigeria on the international stage.
Where does he play?
Balogun is an instinctive striker and clinical finisher with either foot. He is also blessed with blistering pace and excellent movement which makes him a nightmare for opposition defences.
His main issue at Arsenal is that manager Mikel Arteta is currently spoilt for choice in the striker department with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli all ahead of Balogun in the pecking order.
What they say
Arsenal club-captain Aubameyang was full of admiration for Balogun back in March 2019, and even took to Twitter to heap praise on the shoulders of the talented teenager.
His manager Arteta, also spoke in high esteem regarding Balogun during an interview in October 2020.
“He’s a player that I really like,” Arteta said.
“Obviously, I’ve got this situation and I believe it’s later than what I would like because I wasn’t here when everything started to develop but yes, he’s a player that I would like to give chances to.
“That’s why he was in the squad today and I showed him that yes, we count on him and we believe in him and if he wants, he’s going to have a future in the club.”
What he said
Balogun certainly feels he ready for the next step in his career. He even compared his playing style to that of Arsenal skipper Aubameyang.
“I am the sort of striker that likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender and make runs behind them, similar to the way that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plays,” he told the official Arsenal website in March 2019.
“I’ve trained a few times with the first team and I feel that I’ve benefited from being involved with them, especially when playing against experienced defenders, which forces you to find different ways of getting in on goal as what works at lower levels does not always work against them.”
What RTK has to say
Balogun certainly fits the profile of a typical Jurgen Klopp target. He is young, versatile and has major scope to become a top player in the next few years.
His impact from the bench could make Balogun a viable long-term replacement for Divock Origi, who has been heavily touted with a January exit.
However, Liverpool await a nervous wait if they want him. They can’t agree any terms until the season is over – effectively, the last month of his contract.
Non-domestic clubs can begin negotiations in the next few days, though. Liverpool would need to hope that he rejects everything in front of him just to wait for an English side, then.
This seems unlikely, but if his heart is set on Liverpool then it is the ultimate way to showcase his intent on joining Anfield.