Folarin Balogun, the beautiful pickaxe of the Stade de Reims

Lens snatches a draw in Reims, Strasbourg does not take off, Lorient and Clermont revive

This is one of the nice revelations at the start of the 2022-2023 Ligue 1 season. At least, for those who did not know him in England, because for the others, it is more of a simple logical continuation. for Folarin Balogun, this 21-year-old striker on loan from Arsenal to Stade de Reims, who only wanted to play regularly to express all his talent. An opportunity that the Rémois took the risk of offering him. The least we can say is that the English international Espoirs (7 caps, 4 goals) wonderfully gives them back the confidence placed in him.

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Barred by competition from the Gunners (Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah), Folarin Balogun had already spent the second half of the 2021-22 financial year on loan, in the Championship, at Middlesbrough (3 achievements and 3 offerings in 21 appearances in total), after surviving the first part of the season with the U23s (13 goals in 11 games). Gabriel Jesus’ arrival in North London made it clear to him that he would not climb the scoring hierarchy in the eyes of Mikel Arteta. Reims, looking for an additional striker after the departure of Hugo Ekitike to PSG, smelled the good deal.

The Gunner is already making the powder speak

The new number 29 of the Champagne club made its debut with a fanfare in France. So much so that Folarin Balogun is already the best artificer in the SDR, with 5 goals in 6 league games. A performance never achieved by a Rémois since Carlos Bianchi in August-September 1973! Again scorer against RC Lens on Sunday (6th day of L1), the young Englishman who arrived at Arsenal at the age of 10 reminded that he should not be left a crumb in the area, under penalty of being punished by this player capable of turning into a real fox. Otherwise, his arrival was good for the outposts of Reims, he who is very restless on the front of the attack, multiplying the races and the calls for the ball.

“When I knew I was coming here, I knew it would be differenttold Folarin Balogun to Prime Video last Sunday. I don’t know the language and I am learning it. For me, it was important to get out of my comfort zone and find a challenge. That’s why I’m here. I hope it’s the right decision and that it will pay off. My goal this season? I hope to score 10 goals and make 5 assists. I hope to learn French before leaving. If I manage to do that, I’ll see them up again, but those are my goals. »

A bright future for Balogun?

Also altruistic, evidenced by his two assists in Ligue 1 since the start of the season, Balogun displays a great complementarity with his new partners in front. In particular with Junya Ito, with whom he is associated with the tip of Oscar Garcia’s 3-4-1-2. “Since he arrived, he has been very consistent in what he offers. It has a huge volume of play and races. The complementarity of Ito and Balogun is very interesting for us. He manages to be decisive”enthused Will Still, assistant coach of Oscar Garcia, at the microphone of Prime Video after the draw against Lens.

“He creates chances, he moves well, he participates in the game, he combines well with the players around him. We are very happy to have him, Ito too, we are stronger offensively, we do badly in transitions, it is important for our team.also welcomed Sunday, at the microphone of Prime Video the captain of the Stadium, Yunis Abdelhamid. Not long ago, Oscar Garcia promised great things to Folarin Balogun. “If he continues like this, he will become a very important player”. The New York native, who has only had to make two Premier League appearances with his parent club since 2019, asks for no less. In the meantime, it’s up to him to confirm his start to the season, before perhaps finally exploding at the highest level.

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