Sheffield United came close to signing Folarin Balogun, now he’s being picked for stardom

It seems like a long time ago that Sheffield United were in the Premier League and were linked with some of the best young players.

Chris Wilder, having led United to ninth place in the first season back in the top flight, was looking to build on that season by signing some of England’s best young players.



Of course, in the end, Wilder managed to sign Rhian Brewster and Aaron Ramsdale. Those two players have had completely different careers ever since. Ramsdale is now Arsenal’s number one and flying. Meanwhile, Brewster has had injury after injury and has only a handful of goals for United.

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Hindsight comprehension

Looking back on those Chris Wilder days, one player the Blades boss was apparently interested in signing was Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun.

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Reports from 2020 claimed that United had bid £3 million for Balogun. At the time, the Gunners did not want to sell, and The Daily Mail claimed a fee closer to £15m was more realistic.

It wasn’t going to be for the Blades or Wilder. Balogun would go on to sign a new deal with Arsenal, though Wilder eventually got his hands on the young Englishman while he was in charge at Middlesbrough.

Now, just a few seasons down the line, Folarin Balogun is leaning towards greatness.

world star

Balogun has been flying this season on a loan spell with French side Reims. The 21-year-old forward has scored 17 goals and is expected to make the move to become a full international for the US shortly.

And speaking of Balogun last week, French soccer expert Julien Laurens believes the Arsenal man is well on his way to becoming one of the best strikers in the world.

“He was called up by the England Under-21s. I think he was disappointed that Gareth Southgate didn’t call him up. And I think he’s right,” he told The Gab and Juls Show podcast.

“This is not a problem with Ivan Toney or Harry Kane. But I don’t see why you can’t include it. I think England would be crazy. If England lose Balogun as an international player, i.e. choose the USA or Nigeria, I think this would be terrible from England’s point of view, because he has the potential to be one of the best in the world for years to come. . years, I think he has that talent ”.

Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

Sheffield United News View: A case of what might have been

This is just what sometimes happens in soccer. Obviously, there was a reason why Chris Wilder wanted Balogun and it’s now abundantly clear what he saw in the young striker.

United of course got Rhian Brewster. So far, that hasn’t worked out very well, but that doesn’t mean Brewster can’t shoot like Balogun.

For Balogun, there is still a way to go as well. The French league is not the same as England and until he proves himself at Arsenal or elsewhere in the Premier League there will still be question marks.

Still, it’s interesting to see a player we were so strongly attached to doing so well. If Balogun really becomes a global star as suggested, then United will look back in disappointment.

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