Folarin Balogun has made waves across the channel during a season-long loan at Stade de Reims - but Arsenal could still decide to cash in on the Hale End graduate at the end of the current campaign.
Balogun, 21, made headlines last week after plundering his first senior hat-trick for Reims: a treble that propelled him to the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts ahead of the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
After flourishing in France, the youngster's impressive form has certainly piqued the interest of Arsenal fans in recent weeks. However, it has now emerged that Balogun's long-term future at the Emirates is far from certain.
According to a fresh report from The Sun, Reims boss Will Still has been so impressed by Balogun that the French outfit approached Arsenal in regards to a permanent deal in last month's transfer window. And while that was rejected out of hand by the Gunners, it is claimed that Mikel Arteta has yet to decide whether or not the England U21 international has a role in his future plans.
Balogun has just 18 months remaining on his current deal - and the summer transfer window could represent Arsenal's most realistic opportunity to bank a significant sum for the Gunners academy graduate if he is unlikely to feature in Arteta's first-team plans. Alternatively, the Premier League leaders could offer Balogun fresh terms in a bid to keep him at the club beyond the summer of 2024.
Competition for a striking berth next season would be high if Balogun is kept in and around the first-team squad in north London: they splashed out £45million to acquire Gabriel Jesus in the summer and Eddie Nketiah has also impressed while deputising for the Gunners' first-choice forward in recent weeks after the Brazilian underwent knee surgery.
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After a disappointing six-month stint in the Championship with Middlesbrough last term, Balogun has flourished in France and notched 14 league goals this term.
And he already has his sights set on reaching an even higher figure after surpassing his own expectations during his temporary spell in Ligue 1. Speaking recently, Balogun admitted: "Arsenal is my family. But I’ve spent my whole career in England and I knew it was going to be a different test when I came to Reims.
"I didn’t know the language and I’m still trying to learn, but it was important for me to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. That’s the reason I’m here and hopefully it’s a decision that will pay off for me.
"I’ve already reached my target for the start of the season and now I want to do even better and I’m hoping to score 20 goals."