Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun seals Reims loan switch as Mikel Arteta continues summer clear-out

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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun seals Reims loan switch as Mikel Arteta continues summer clear-out
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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has completed his latest loan exit, heading to France to join Reims.

The 21-year-old will spend the entire 2022/23 campaign in Ligue 1, having been pushed further down the attacking pecking order at Emirates Stadium under Mikel Arteta.

At one stage, it had looked like Balogun could be set for a huge opportunity over the summer and in the early stages of the new season, with Arsenal seemingly resigned to losing both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah on free transfers having also bid farewell to former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in February.

However, while Lacazette did eventually depart for former club Lyon, Nketiah performed a contract U-turn after a strong end to last season and was quickly joined by the £45million arrival of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City.

Balogun went on to play a bit-part role for Arsenal during pre-season, coming off the bench in the friendly win over Nurnberg in Germany but failing to register an appearance on their successful tour of the United States.

The England Under-21 international was not in the matchday squad for last weekend's 6-0 Emirates Cup thrashing of Sevilla in north London as he closed in on a move to Reims, who lost star striker Hugo Etikete to Paris Saint-Germain last month.

The move represents Balogun's second loan stint away from Arsenal, with the player having scored three goals in 21 appearances during a disappointing spell at Championship side Middlesbrough in the second half of last season.

However, the Gunners do not look to be giving up on the academy graduate just yet, with transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano confirming that the agreement with Reims contains no option for a permanent transfer.

Balogun had previously looked set to leave Arsenal last year with his contract expiring but, much like Nketiah, he eventually changed his mind and agreed fresh terms on a new four-year contract until 2025.

His latest departure forms part of a clear-out by Arteta following the arrivals of Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos.

The likes of Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi and Konstantinos Mavropanos have all left on permanent deals, while Nuno Tavares was loaned to Marseille last week.

Lucas Torreira is also set to join Galatasaray, while Arsenal are expected to offload the likes of Alex Runarsson, Hector Bellerin and Pablo Mari before the September 1 transfer deadline.

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