Arsenal's Balogun replaced by Football Manager starlet

Tom Weber
Tom Weber
  • Updated: 8 Jun 2023 16:16 BST
  • 3 min read
Folarin Balogun, Reims, 2022/23
© ProShots

A replacement for Folarin Balogun has been found - at Stade Reims.

The Arsenal starlet will depart the French side this summer and return to his parent club following an outstanding season. The new USMNT star hit 21 goals in 37 Ligue 1 outings for the club that made headlines earlier in the season by employing Will Still, who allegedly learned how to coach by playing Football Manager.

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That is of course not actually true, but Still nevertheless seems to be putting his FM expertise to good use as French media report that Reims are lining up a move for Oumar Diakite to replace Balogun. A favourite for FM players who keep an eye on the German-speaking world of football, the 19-year-old Ivorian has impressed in the second division of Austrian football.

Loaned to FC Liefering, RB Salzburg's sister club where the likes of Karim Adeyemi and Dominik Szoboszlai cut their teeth before getting into the senior squad, the attacker hit nine goals and chipped in with six assists in the bygone season.

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Balogun's future

As for Arsenal's Balogun, his future has been a hotly debated topic. Gunners legend Thierry Henry urged him last month to find a club where he will get regular game time, which may not be in north London. Indeed, Balogun himself seems to be well aware that he may have to move on this summer in order to get his wish of becoming a first-choice striker at a club.

Various media outlets have claimed in recent days that both Milan giants are eyeing the 21-year-old. With two years remaining on his deal and his stocks at an all-time high following his sensational season at Reims, Arsenal may have to reluctantly cash in on their academy product.

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Balogun was recently in the news for announcing his national team switch from England to the US, which caused plenty of excitement stateside. The forward will be in action for the USMNT next week in CONCACAF Nations League play against rivals Mexico.

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