Football Digest: Arsenal tipped for defensive moves in transfer window
Arsenal and USA striker Folarin Balogun’s hopes of securing a move to Chelsea are hanging in the balance as the West London outfit mull over a potential swap deal with Italian giants Juventus.
Mauricio Pochettino is believed to be interested in the prospect of bringing the 22-year-old to Stamford Bridge, but the Gunners’ asking price is proving to be an obstacle.
According to the Mirror, last year’s Premier League runners-up are demanding £50m to let their forward leave north London, with Monaco having already had a £34m bid rejected.
Chelsea remains some way off that valuation, but Balogun is not the only option on the table. According to TuttoMercatoWeb, the Blues have been discussing a potential striker swap deal with Serie A outfit Juventus.
The proposed deal would see Romelu Lukaku end his Stamford Bridge nightmare by moving to Turin, with Serbian forward Dusan Vlahovic heading in the opposite direction. But the report claims that the Old Lady is only willing to entertain the deal if Chelsea stump up £34.1m plus Lukaku.
It is reported that Juventus ‘will not budge’ from this position, having held talks for several weeks, so it is now a question of whether Chelsea is prepared to accept the laid-out terms of the deal.
The Blues are very keen to move on Lukaku – who spent last season on loan with former side Inter Milan – but have so far resisted calls to add additional money to the deal. Juventus have reportedly already agreed personal terms with the Belgian striker, agreeing in principle a three-year deal worth £7.69m per year.
Uncertainty over the proposed swap deal does nothing to determine the future of Balogun, however, who has accepted that his future lies away from Arsenal and is attracted by the prospect of joining Chelsea.
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The US international, who previously represented England up to under-21 level, spent last season on loan with Ligue 1 side Reims in France, where he scored 22 goals in 39 appearances across all competitions.
The Gunners’ youth academy graduate, who also had a stint on loan with Middlesbrough during the 2021/22 season, went on Arsenal’s preseason tour of the US, but having publicly stated that he did not want to spend another campaign on loan, is now pursuing first team football elsewhere.
But although he would be more than happy to agree to a move across the capital to rivals Chelsea, the Blues’ interest in Vlahovic, who scored 14 goals for Juventus last season, remains an obstacle. Furthermore, the deal for Vlahovic would work out cheaper for Chelsea owner Todd Boehly – who has already spent a fortune this summer – while it would also help them land a top-quality striker that Mauricio Pochettino has been craving as well as get rid of Lukaku who is currently clogging up their wage bill and training with the Under-21s.
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