Arsenal have reportedly slapped a price tag of €40m (£35.3m) on the head of striker Folarin Balogun.
The 21-year-old has enjoyed a productive loan spell with Ligue 1 side Reims this term, scoring 10 goals and providing two assists in 16 top-flight appearances.
Balogun is yet to earn a major breakthrough into the Arsenal first team, but he is thought to be attracting interest from clubs across Europe amid his stellar streak of form in France.
AC Milan are believed to have taken an interest in signing Balogun, whose contract with the Gunners runs for another two-and-a-half years until the summer of 2025.
However, according to Pianetemilan.it, Arsenal will demand a fee of €40m (£35.3m) to sanction Balogun’s exit, and Milan are not alone in their efforts to sign the striker.
The report states that San Siro rivals Inter Milan have also expressed an interest in the England Under-21 international, who could supposedly be allowed to leave Arsenal on a permanent deal.
Balogun joined Arsenal’s academy in 2011 but has only made 10 senior appearances for the Gunners so far, scoring two goals and setting up one more in the process.
The New York-born attacker joined Middlesbrough on loan for the second half of the 2021-22 season and featured regularly for the Championship side, contributing three goals and three assists in 21 outings.
Having proven himself as a consistent goalscorer in Ligue 1, Balogun was tipped to end his loan spell with Reims early and head back to Arsenal in January to cover for the injured Gabriel Jesus.
However, Arsenal and Reims are not thought to be in any talks over terminating the striker’s loan, and he is expected to remain in France for the remainder of the campaign.
Arsenal lost Jesus to a serious knee injury during the World Cup, and the Brazil international could be sidelined for another couple of months as he recovers from surgery.
Eddie Nketiah has stepped up to the plate in Jesus’s absence with four goals from four games since Boxing Day, including a brace in Monday’s 3-0 FA Cup third-round win over Oxford United.
Nketiah is now Arsenal’s only fit senior number nine, though, and Arteta has conceded that reinforcements are required in the coming weeks, telling the press: “The problem is we have only one!
“And to go for that many months until Jesus is back is not easy. But we have to get the most out of the players that we have at the moment and if we can have some reinforcements – great.”
Arsenal, who also remain in talks with Shakhtar Donetsk over a deal for Mykhaylo Mudryk, return to Premier League action away to Tottenham Hotspur in Sunday’s North London derby.
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