Speaking on France Bleu, Stade de Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot ruled out the possibility of signing Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun (21) on a permanent deal, although the club are clinging to the hope of loaning him for an extra season.
Balogun is on loan at the Ligue 1 club until the end of the season. Following a loan spell at Championship club Middlesbrough last season, the Arsenal forward has excelled on loan at Reims. He is currently the Ligue 1 top-scorer with 15 goals and has been an essential pillar in Reims’ 16-game unbeaten run, a record for the club.
However, despite the wishes of the club, Caillot unequivocally ruled out the possibility of signing Balogun at the end of this season’s loan. The Reims president said that he will either return to his parent club Arsenal, go out on loan elsewhere, or be permanently transferred.
“I think [signing him] is impossible. The rules of the game are clear: these are boys that, when they join us, know that they’re here to improve and that it’s a step for them. So even if I’m not deciding for him, either Folarin will return to his club (Arsenal) to have his chance, he’s loaned out, or transferred to a very big club,” began Caillot.
He continued, “He is a player that should go even higher. So obviously we’ll ask him if he feels good here, and at his club, but I think that now, he will need to take a step up.”
In his interview with France Bleu, Caillot revealed that the club are already preparing for next season without Balogun, but are still holding onto the feint hope of retaining him on loan next season. “We are already working on life after Balogun, the day when he will leave our club. But if he and the club are open to another year at Reims, we’ll do everything to make it happen,” he concluded.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle