Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun has reportedly emerged as a summer transfer target for Napoli.
When the Gunners allowed Balogun to link up with Reims on loan for 2022-23, it was in the hope that their academy graduate would finally earn regular senior football.
Rather than simply gaining experience, the former England Under-21 international has emerged as one of the top young strikers plying his trade in Europe.
The 21-year-old has netted 20 goals from 33 starts and three substitute outings in Ligue 1, a remarkable upturn in fortunes after a mixed stint with Middlesbrough during the first half of 2022.
With Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah already at Mikel Arteta’s disposal, the decision has allegedly been made for Arsenal to cash in on Balogun during the summer.
The scenario is said to suit all parties, Balogun also aware that he will not secure frequent game time at the Emirates Stadium and that he has just two years left on his contract.
Balogun will not be short of offers, particularly in France where he has enhanced his reputation, but it appears that he could be given the opportunity to move to one of European football’s top clubs.
According to The Mirror, Napoli are contemplating whether to make an approach for the frontman in the event that Victor Osimhen departs over the coming months.
The Nigeria international is in a similar position to Balogun, his contract only lasting until 2025 and seemingly keen to take on a new challenge rather than pen a renewal.
Napoli, the recently-crowned Serie A champions, are in a position where they want to receive in excess of £100m for a player who has admirers at many of European football’s top-tier teams.
Meanwhile, Balogun would cost less than half of Osimhen, reportedly in the region of £30m unless Arsenal find themselves overseeing a bidding war.
AC Milan, another Italian team that have secured Champions League football for next season, have also been linked with Balogun in recent weeks.
West Ham United may reportedly request that Balogun is included in any proposal which sees Declan Rice make the switch across London.