Folarin Balogun: The Nigeria-Eligible Striker Painting Ligue 1 With Goals Ahead of Mbappe, Neymar

Folarin Balogun: The Nigeria-Eligible Striker Painting Ligue 1 With Goals Ahead of Mbappe, Neymar

  • Folarin Balogun scored a hat trick as Reims thrashed Lorient 4-2 at the Stade Auguse Delaune
  • The Nigeria-eligible striker has now beaten Kylian Mbappe to go top of the Ligue 1 scorer’s chart
  • Balogun is on loan to the French club from EPL side Arsenal, and quite a number of clubs are on his trail

Reims striker Folarin Balogun, who is on loan from English Premier League club Arsenal, is scoring for free in the difficult Ligue 1.

The 21-year-old has already notched in 14 league goals in 20 matches this season, taking him ahead of superstars like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and the likes.

Quite a number of clubs are already on the trail of the forward, and here we dissect the profile of the in-form star.

Folarin Balogun, Super Eagles, Ligue 1, Reims, Arsenal
Folarin Balogun has continued to score great goals in the French Ligue 1. Photo: Anthony Dibon
Source: Getty Images

Who is Folarin Balogun?

Born in the United States to parents of Nigerian origin, Balogun migrated to England at the age of 2 and grew up there.

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He is eligible to play for all three countries, but has featured for England youth teams, although indicating interest in playing for the Super Eagles.

Balogun was playing the ‘Sunday League’ when he was scouted by Arsenal at the tender age of 8, with reports claiming he earlier had a trial at Tottenham.

Professional contract

He signed his first professional contract in 2019 and one year later, he featured twice for the Gunners in the Europa League.

Balogun committed to a long-term contract with Arsenal in 2021 and made his Premier League debut in their 2-0 loss to Brentford.

In January 2022, the forward was sent on loan to Middlesbrough until the end of the season. Last summer, he was sent on loan to France, where he joined Reims.

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The 21-year-old was on target on his debut for the French club, scoring his side’s only goal in their 4-1 loss to Marseille.

Folarin Balogun paints France with goals

Balogun has already notched in 15 goals in all competitions, with 14 of them coming in the French Ligue as he continued his incredible Ligue 1 scoring run with a hat-trick as Reims beat Lorient 4-2 at the Stade Auguse Delaune.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe has scored 13 league goals in 19 appearances, while Neymar has netted 12 goals in 18 league matches.

Interested in playing for Nigeria?

Even though he has scored 11 goals in 26 appearances for various England youth teams, Balogun earlier indicated an interest in playing for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

He told the BBC:

"I haven't heard anything from Nigeria, but I'm open to anything because Nigeria is very close to my heart. My family's from there. I always have love for Nigeria.

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“That's a conversation that I need to have with people around me, my agent and obviously my family. But if I was asked about the opportunity to play for Nigeria, then I can have that conversation. But first I need to be asked.”

Jose Peseiro urged to invite Folarin Balogun

Sports Brief earlier reported that former Nigerian goalkeeper, Andrew Aikhoumogbe, has urged Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro, to do everything possible for him to convince Folarin Balogun to play for Nigeria.

Balogun, who has been impressive this season for Reims in the Ligue 1 has been representing England in the youth teams, but he can still switch allegiance if he wants.

Aikhoumogbe explained that Balogun will do well in the Nigerian team if he is brought in.