L’Équipe have revealed that Stade de Reims attempted to sign Folarin Balogun (21) back in 2019 before the Englishman signed his first professional contract with boyhood club Arsenal.
Balogun is now currently on loan at Reims and has enjoyed a record-breaking start to his time at the Stade Auguste Delaune. In scoring in each of his first three Ligue 1 appearances, he became the first player to do so for Reims since Jacques Vergnes in 1975.
However, he could have arrived at the club earlier. It has been revealed by L’Équipe that the Ligue 1 side offered him his first professional contract back in 2019. Balogun, however, remained in North London and signed with Arsenal, where he had risen through the ranks.
Reims’ general manager Mathieu Lacour recalled, “We looked at him and tried to sign him to his first professional contract. This created the first relationship.”
Since, Reims, Balogun’s agent Emeka Obasi and Arsenal have maintained good relations, facilitating this summer’s loan move. Reim’s head of recruitment Pol-Édouard Caillot said, “signing such a player is normally unattainable for a club like us. Balogun’s agent remained close with the club and found that the project was interesting. On Arsenal’s side, they immediately understood our ambition for Folarin. He knew that we believed in him and that we’d give him lots of game time. All that allowed the transfer to be completed quickly.”