There looks set to be a big transfer tussle between at least three Championship clubs in January for young Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun.
It was reported yesterday by The Mirror that new Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder was extremely interested in the 20-year-old and watched him in action for England’s under-21’s on Friday evening against the Czech Republic.
West Ham United are also keeping tabs on the youngster’s situation but per The Sun, Wilder’s old club Sheffield United are also thought to be keen on a mid-season move for Balogun despite having a plethora of strikers to choose from.
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And to add to those three teams there’s also Swansea City to add to the mix now, with Swansea Independent reporting that the Welsh club are back in the mix for Balogun after making an approach in January.
Balogun is finding game-time hard to come by at the Emirates Stadium, having featured twice in the Premier League in the Gunners’ first two matches of the campaign but hasn’t made a matchday squad since.
He’s scored 10 goals in eight under-23 matches this season for the club in the Premier League 2 competition but he has been challenged by his England coach Lee Carsley to go and test himself out on loan.
Much like Eddie Nketiah did a few years ago with Leeds, Balogun needs this loan spell to kick-start his senior career.
He’s had a few chances off the bench with the Gunners and also in European competition but now he needs to go to the Championship, play regularly and develop his craft.
The USA-born striker had a long contract saga last season that finally came to a conclusion in April and that probably stalled his development somewhat, but he can now just get his head down and start playing.
He’s showing electric form for the under-23’s but he’s above that level now and like Carsley said he needs to test himself at senior level and the Championship will be a perfect classroom for him to learn in.