Inter Milan prepare Folarin Balogun swoop as Arsenal profit from striker transfer domino

Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is attracting interest from Inter Milan (Image: Getty)

Inter Milan are ready to launch a move for Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun after missing out on West Ham’s Gianluca Scamacca. The Champions League finalists had been pressing to close a deal for the Italian frontman on Friday after tabling an improved proposal worth £24million including add-ons.

But now Scamacca is expected to complete a move to Serie A rivals Atalanta this weekend after being given permission to fly to Rome to undergo a medical ahead of a £26m permanent switch.

Scamacca initially looked headed for San Siro but the late twist could now have implications for the Gunners with Inter now considered to be strong frontrunners for Balogun even though there is still no guarantee an agreement will be reached.

That’s because Inter want to tie up the signing of Balogun for no more than £30m as in their view, they do not intend to overpay for a player that is actively looking for a move this summer.

However, Arsenal are prepared to stand firm on their valuation which is upwards of £40m after Balogun struck 21 times in Ligue 1 last season while on loan at Stade Reims and the club’s hierarchy feel under no pressure to sell – even if that is their desired outcome.

The Gunners believe they have every right to dig their heels into the ground following Rasmus Hojlund’s £72m move to Manchester United, particularly given Balogun has already shown he can cut the mustard in one of Europe’s top-five leagues.

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Inter have missed out on West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca to Atalanta (Image: Getty)

Arsenal are even prepared to keep hold of Balogun for another season if they do not receive what they consider to be a fair and competitive bid for the highly-rated 22-year-old, who is now considered to be among Europe’s hottest young strikers.

That said, a familiar theme has occurred throughout the summer transfer window; buying clubs feel as though Balogun is being somewhat overpriced by the Arsenal hierarchy.

RB Leipzig, AC Milan, Marseille, Monaco and Crystal Palace are among the teams to have made enquiries in the past few months but none of those were prepared to formalise their interest due to Arsenal’s asking price.

West Ham could yet enter the running following Scamacca’s imminent departure although it must be noted on record that the Hammers are yet to explore the conditions of a deal.

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Mikel Arteta hinted that Arsenal still consider Balogun to be available for transfer despite the news Gabriel Jesus has been forced to undergo a small procedure on his knee which will see him miss the start of the season.

The Spaniard said after the penalty-shootout triumph over Monaco: “The plan with Flo doesn’t change at all, but unfortunately, with Gabby, we are not going to have him. We have other options to play with different qualities of players, so we will adapt.”

Balogun has already made it known that he has no intention of heading out on loan again following spells with Middlesbrough and Reims and Inter now represent his best chance of securing a departure.

The USMNT striker is understood to be open to joining Inter and it’s a switch that will now be actively explored by his representatives and close family who are managing his prospects.

Arsenal are still open to offers for striker Folarin Balogun (Image: Getty)

Meanwhile, Olympiacos are understood to have pulled out of a loan move for Arsenal’s 20-year-old winger Marquinhos.

Earlier this week, Express Sport revealed that the Brazilian was closing in on a season-long loan switch to the Greek giants but the transfer now looks unlikely following a late approach from Nantes.

Marquinhos is continuing to train with Arteta’s squad at London Colney following his involvement in the Emirates Cup and he is currently expected to be part of the squad that faces Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

Arsenal are continuing to advance in talks with Brentford over a permanent move for David Raya with Matt Turner now expected to join Nottingham Forest, although neither deal is done at this stage.

Despite reports linking the Italian with Fenerbahce, Jorginho is set to stay at Arsenal and is happy in north London following his January switch from Chelsea.