Daily Mail: Arsenal Star to Join EPL rivals After Failed Contract Extension Talks

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Southampton and Brentford are reportedly in the race for Arsenal academy striker Folarin Balogun, who looks likely to leave the club this summer.

The Daily Mail report that Southampton and Brentford are both keen on Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun this summer.

They join AC Milan in expressing an interest in the striker, after both Milan and Brentford tried to sign him in January.

This update comes following reports from The Athletic’s David Ornstein that Balogun will leave this summer if Arsenal receive a suitable bid.

The Gunners failed to reach an agreement with the 18-year-old’s representatives over a contract extension. His current deal expires in 2021, so Arsenal can either sell now or lose him for free next summer. They hope to work a sell-on clause into his sale.

Balogun made 19 u23 appearances, scored 13 goals and provided five assists in all competitions this season. He got a first-team call-up for the match against Nottingham Forest, but didn’t make it onto the pitch as Gabriel Martinelli scored a brace.

Towards the end of 2019, Balogun hit a roadblock with injuries. He picked up a knock in October and an ankle injury in November. Overall, keeping him on the sidelines for seven or eight weeks.

That was particularly unfortunate, as those are usually the best times to get first-team call-ups, with the League Cup and the Europa League group stages. After that, the squad got even more crowded with Eddie Nketiah returning from loan.

It certainly looks like he’s on the way out at this stage. The only glimmer of hope comes in the form of Saka’s contract extension on Wednesday.

Balogun posted a message of congratulations to his academy teammate on Instagram, and the two players do share representation. Perhaps if Saka could eventually find an agreement, so could Balogun, but it still seems very unlikely right now.

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