- 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 top the Ligue 1 goalscoring list
- Balogun is on loan to the French club from EPL side Arsenal, with several clubs following him.
France’s Reims striker Folarin Balogun, who is on loan from English Premier League club Arsenal, is scoring for free in difficult Ligue 1.
The 21-year-old has already scored 14 league goals in 20 games this season, putting him ahead of superstars like Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and the like.
A good number of clubs are already hot on the striker’s trail, and here we take a look at the profile of the in-form star.
Who is Folarin Balogun?
Born in the United States to parents of Nigerian origin, Balogun immigrated to England at the age of 2 and grew up there.
Why Nigeria’s Victor Osimhen could be crowned the 2023 African Footballer of the Year
He is eligible to play in all three countries, but has featured in England’s youth teams, although he indicates interest in playing for the Super Eagles.
Balogun was playing in the ‘Sunday League’ when Arsenal discovered him at the tender age of 8, and reports claimed he previously had a trial at Tottenham.
He signed his first professional contract in 2019 and a year later he played 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 loaned to Middlesbrough until the end of the season. Last summer he was loaned to France, where he signed for Reims.
From fantasy to reality: Reims manager Still takes on PSG
The 21-year-old scored on his debut for the French club, netting his side’s only goal in a 4-1 loss to Marseille.
Folarin Balogun paints France with goals
Balogun has already netted 15 goals in all competitions, including 14 in the French Ligue as he continued his incredible scoring run in Ligue 1 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 games.
Interested in playing for Nigeria?
Although he has scored 11 goals in 26 appearances for various England youth teams, Balogun previously indicated his interest in playing for the Nigerian Super Eagles.
He told the BBC:
“I have not heard anything from Nigeria, but I am open to anything because Nigeria is very close to my heart. My family is from there. I have always loved Nigeria.”
Stunning photos of Messi, Mbappé and other PSG stars emerge as they tour the future club Campus
“That’s a conversation I need to have with the people around me, my agent and obviously my family. But if they ask me about the opportunity to play for Nigeria, then I can have that conversation. But first I need you to ask me.
José Peseiro urged to invite Folarin Balogun
Sports Brief previously reported that former Nigerian goalkeeper Andrew Aikhoumogbe has urged Super Eagles manager Jose Peseiro to do everything he can to convince Folarin Balogun to play for Nigeria.
Balogun, who has been impressive this season with Reims in Ligue 1, has been representing England in the youth teams but can still switch sides if he wants.
Aikhoumogbe explained that Balogun will do well in the Nigerian national team if he is signed.