Folarin Balogun, who is on loan from Arsenal at French club Stade de Reims, has already scored five goals in seven Ligue 1 games this season. He has also gained praise from Gunners legend Thierry Henry.
Speaking to Prime Video Sport France Henry said:
I’m really happy for him because in general English players don’t go abroad. Normally players are loaned either to another Premier League side or in the Championship.
He’s a very English-style player who likes to run down the channels but he was missing something, which was his finishing.
He’s now starting to score goals regularly and I’m happy for that – happy he has gone abroad. It’s especially so considering he is a Londoner, in general, Londoners struggle to leave London. When I heard he was coming to France, it made me think he has a refreshing mindset.
Balogun’s Career so far
Henry mentioned how English players usually go to the Championship, which is something Balogun has experienced. He had a loan at Middlesbrough where he scored three goals in 18 matches.
For Arsenal’s first team he has made 10 appearances, scoring twice. He has a very impressive record for their U21s where he scored 37 goals in 62 appearances. For their U18s he found the back of the net 38 times in just 41 games.
At 21 years old, Balogun is now showing what he can do in a senior side in one of Europe’s top five leagues at Reims. The French club is managed by former Brighton boss Óscar García and Balogun is flourishing playing under him.
His decision to go out on loan was a good one considering Mikel Arteta’s side recently signed Gabriel Jesus who has been leading their line. However, if Balogun’s form continues, then next season Arteta will likely consider him part of his plans at the Emirates.
Henry also said how pleased he was to see Balogun going abroad. It has become the norm for English players to play in different countries. We currently have in Germany, Jude Bellingham at Borussia Dortmund, Jonjoe Kenny at Hertha BSC and Callum Hudson-Odoi at Bayern Leverkusen. In Italy, we have Tammy Abraham, Chris Smalling at AS Roma, and Fikayo Tomori at AC Milan.
Only Neymar and Kylian Mbappé (both 7) have scored more Ligue 1 goals this season than Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun (5). pic.twitter.com/u0MvXWyQCr
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 4, 2022
What Will be in Store for Balogun Internationally?
Balogun was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, he is eligible to play for both countries as well as England. He has played for the Three Lions up to the U21 level where he has scored 6 goals in 11 matches and has played for the USA’s U18s where he scored twice in four matches.
With the form he has been showing for Reims, Gareth Southgate may want to call him up to England seniors for their upcoming fixtures against Italy and Germany. Getting Balogun involved in competitive Nations League matches will fend off interest from the other countries he is eligible to play for.
But for now, we know his future lies in playing club football in France. Reims plays Monaco this Sunday at 12:00 BST. Many Arsenal and England fans should tune in and keep an eye on his progress throughout the season.