Arsenal are biding their time with Folarin Balogun’s transfer, seemingly waiting for everyone else to show their hand. So far, Monaco and Inter Milan have bid (the Italian club have reportedly since pulled out of the running) and several Premier League sides are kicking the tires. At last count, Chelsea, Tottenham, Fulham, and West Ham are all interested.
Thus far, the Gunners have held firm to their £50M asking price for the USMNT striker, although reports say that Edu & Co. might be open to agreeing to a lower fee.
A few weeks ago, Arsenal rejected a £34M bid from Monaco. Unsurprisingly, Mikel Arteta refused to give a reason the bid was turned down, saying “I cannot talk about internal things here.” The Ligue 1 side are expected to make an improved offer, but the expectation is that they won’t meet the Gunners’ purported asking price.
As suggested yesterday in our transfer roundup, the Gunners might be holding out until closer to Deadline Day in hopes of a bidding war between Premier League clubs. If multiple PL teams are in for Balogun, Monaco will likely find themselves priced out, but Arsenal would likely get closer to or reach their £50M asking price.
A move to Spurs seems unlikely. Arsenal reportedly quoted their arch-rivals an amount above the £50M asking price, which is extremely funny. Chelsea seem ready and willing to buy any player who comes across their radar, so don’t count them out as a landing spot.
Fulham are in the market for a striker after selling Aleksandar Mitrović to Saudi club Al Hilal for £45M. Clearly, the Cottagers have the cash to come close to the Gunners’ asking price.
West Ham, another club Arsenal know have funds available, have Michael Antonio (33) and Danny Ings (31) to lead the line with youngster Divin Mubama in reserve. The Hammers are looking for their striker of the future after Gianluca Scamacca did not work out.
I suspect that we might see some movement after Arsenal play Fulham on Saturday. Selling a player to the team you’re about to face seems like something a club should avoid if possible, although Arsenal did sell Matt Turner to Nottingham Forest days before facing the Tricky Trees in the Premier League opener.
If Arsenal end up selling to Chelsea, they should accept no less than the £50M asking price. You don’t strengthen a crosstown rival for anything less than full freight. Lowering the price to facilitate a move makes a bit more sense if Fulham or West Ham are buying, but you’d hope the Gunners get a sell-on clause or buyback option in return and / or turn around and reinvest the proceeds into another first team player before the summer window closes.