Alejandro Soto


Racking up the goals in Ligue 1

Kylian Mbappé has been Ligue 1’s top scorer for the past four seasons, but this year the Paris Saint-Germain star is trailing Reims’ Folarin Balogun.

An England Under-21 international,  the US-born striker is enjoying a breakout season with Reims, where he’s on loan from Arsenal.

With 14 goals in his first 21 games  in Ligue 1, he’s one ahead of Mbappé and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette at the top of the French scoring charts.

Balogun joined Arsenal at the age of eight, before making his way up through the Gunners’ youth ranks between 2009 and 2020.

He was loaned to Championship  club Middlesbrough last term, but  it’s at Reims that the 21-year-old  has exploded into life.

Against Lorient last week, Balogun  hit a hat-trick in just 20 minutes. And three days earlier, his late leveller earned a point against PSG.

His rapid progress is reflected in his market value, which has risen from €4m to €14m in a year, according to specialists Transfermarkt. 

Although Balogun tends to operate as a No. 9, he’s a player who, for example, is also very effective cutting in from a starting position on the left.

Balogun can beat players and links  up to great effect, but it’s his  finishing that has made him Reims’  star man this season.

Balogun has, without doubt, been  the major revelation in Ligue 1 this term. And Arsenal are keeping a very close eye on his progress.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has just  two centre-forwards in his squad - Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah. Balogun could be another option.