Ligue 1 side win race to sign Arsenal forward on season-long loan

It looks as if Ligue 1 side, Reims, have won the race to sign one of Arsenal’s hottest talents after agreeing terms for a season-long loan.

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The French side have managed to fight off competition from a host of Premier League sides for young striker, Flo Balogun, who has chosen to spend life in France’s top tier.

According to an update on Sunday evening from Fabrizio Romano, Reims will seal the move early next week when Balogun will head out to complete his medical and sign contracts.

Balogun was left out of the Arsenal squad that hammered Sevilla 6-0 in the Emirates Cup this weekend, the biggest indication so far that a move was on the cards.

It’s an interesting move for the 21-year-old who is ultimately prioritising a side that can and will promise him the most amount of game time, something that might not have been as realistic in the Premier League.

Reims are a stable club in Ligue 1 that consistently are fighting for a top 10 finish in the league table, having secured 12th, 14th and 6th in the last three campaigns.

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Having signed a contract extension last summer until 2025, the club are now keen to ensure Balogun can press on with senior football following a successful brief loan at Middlesbrough last season.

Not only does it confirm Balogun’s intentions for the year ahead, it also tells us a lot about Mikel Arteta’s plans for the transfer market with a bit of a gap appearing up top.

Arsenal have had the luxury of four centre forwards to lean on in recent years but it’s now just Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah who are able to lead the attacking line.

One injury to either of those players, mixed with the increase in games following Europa League qualification, it appears Arteta and Edu may have a plan up their sleeve.

The Gunners boss has repeatedly stated that some players would need to move on or spend the season on loan in order to welcome any new signings.

With the recent loan of Nuno Tavares and imminent announcement of Bernd Leno to Fulham, it looks like Balogun’s departure could pave the way for some activity in the market.

Arsenal were long-term admirers of Raphinha before he made the move to Barcelona, meaning a right sided forward is definitely on their list.

However, with the likes of Hector Bellerin, Lucas Torreira and Nicolas Pepe still eating up a good chunk of the wage bill, we may have to wait a little longer before rolling out the red carpet.

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