Folarin Balogun could find himself switching between London clubs as Chelsea ramps up interest in the USMNT forward. The current Arsenal forward ranks No. 3 in the order of Mikel Arteta’s preferred strikers. With Chelsea’s endless funds, Balogun may be open to a move that would warrant more playing time.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side is joining the race against both Fulham and Monaco to land the striker. However, only Chelsea may be able to fulfill Arsenal’s high bidding price for Balogun. According to the Evening Standard, Chelsea can meet Arsenal’s asking price of around $51 million. Arsenal already turned down one bid from Monaco which reached as high as $44 million. At the time, some reports indicated Balogun’s fee may climb to $65 million.
Chelsea is in need of some creativity or change in its front line. The club has just two goals in its two games this year. In the most recent 3-1 loss at West Ham, the Blues looked devoid of any attacking threat for much of the game. Only Carney Chukwuemeka could put one on the board for Chelsea. His talents are done for an extended period after picking up an injury.
While not in the same position, Chelsea remains weak in the striker position. Romelu Lukaku looks unlikely to return to the squad following his loan with Inter Milan last season. Therefore, only Armando Broja and Nicolas Jackson can play as an out-and-out striker. Balogun proved his capabilities in that position with Reims last season on loan from Arsenal. He scored 21 goals in 37 league appearances with the French club.
Balogun at Chelsea evokes worry for USMNT fans
Chelsea’s loaded squad and the constant change at the club over the last two seasons would not provide Balogun with a stable base. Moreover, USMNT supporters have less-than-fond memories of their bright talents moving to Stamford Bridge. Christian Pulisic made a big-money move to the club in 2019. Injuries and dips in form relegated the American star to the bench, where he struggled to make any major impact on the field.
Balogun has said that he wants any potential move to be permanent. Also, the striker wants consistent first-team minutes. Monaco and Fulham would be more likely to provide that, especially because the Cottagers are losing Aleksandar Mitrovic to the Saudi Pro League.
Chelsea would be a major club for Balogun if it does match Arsenal’s huge demands for the striker.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PanoramiC
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