Nigeria may after all lose the services of Folarin Balogun after United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) goalkeeper, Matt Turner revealed he has had talks with the Arsenal-owned striker.
The Gunners goalkeeper, Turner says that he developed a quick friendship with Balogun during Arsenal’s preseason as the two bonded over their American roots.
Balogun’s international future has been a major talking point in recent weeks as the on-loan striker has lit up the Ligue 1 with Reims.
Balogun has 17 goals in the Ligue 1 this season while on loan at Reims and he is eligible to play for England, the U.S.A and Nigeria.
The striker was recently called up to play for England’s Under-21s but was forced to withdraw due to injury.
He has played for England’s youth ranks more recently and, if he were to switch to the Stars and Stripes, Arsenal teammate, Turner says it would have to be a choice that comes from the heart.
“I’ve spoken to Flo,” Turner said. “We obviously had most of our preseason together and I knew going into it that he had some roots in the U.S..
“So, he and I developed a relationship pretty quickly. That’s pretty much the extent of it. We check in on each other here and there.
“He’d be a great addition to our national team. I think he’s done really well, obviously, for his club on loan, and we’ll see.
“The decision has to come from the heart because it’s not necessarily an easy task always to come and play in these CONCACAF games.
“It’s a tough region at times. So for us, we’d be really grateful to have him but his heart needs to be in it.”
On the other hand, Balogun has said that a decision on his future at Arsenal will be made at the end of the campaign.
The 21-year-old moved to Reims on loan last summer, and he has been in impressive form for the French club this season, scoring 18 goals and registering two assists in 29 appearances in all competitions.
As it stands, Balogun will return to the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season with a view to competing for a first-team spot at Arsenal during the 2023-24 campaign.
However, there have been suggestions that the forward could leave the Gunners on a permanent basis this summer.
Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot recently said that it would be “impossible” for his club to sign Balogun on a permanent basis this summer, but a number of other clubs are said to be keeping a close eye on the situation.
Balogun came through the youth system at Arsenal, and he has only represented the London club’s first team on 10 occasions, scoring twice and contributing one assist.