Balogun heads to Middlesbrough, Arsenal in Udinese talks over Pablo Mari - My Arsenal Blog

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Balogun heads to Middlesbrough, Arsenal in Udinese talks over Pablo Mari

Posted on January 12, 2022 by Veselin Trajkovic

Folarin Balogun has joined Middlesbrough on loan for the rest of the season, the club have officially confirmed.

The future of the 20-year-old striker was quite uncertain for a large part of 2020-21, but towards the end of the season he signed a new contract. Balogun could well be given a proper chance in the first-team squad next term, with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah set to depart and the fate of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang yet to be decided.

Balogun has truly impressed for the Under-23 side this season, scoring 15 goals in 14 appearances across the Premier League 2 and the EFL Trophy.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are in advanced talks with Udinese over the possibility of Pablo Mari heading to the Serie A side on loan for the remaining part of the season, according to Fabrizio Romano. The defender would then return to the club, with no option to buy included in the deal.

Mari arrived to Arsenal from Brazilian side Flamengo for around £5 million in the summer of 2020. It seemed for a while he would go on to become a stalwart tower in the Gunners’ defence, but injuries, an occasional below-par performance and the arrival of Ben White last summer caused him to lose his place in the starting XI. White and Gabriel Magalhaes are now the established centre-back duo, preferred by manager Mikel Arteta.

In 18 months at the club, Mari has made only 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring once. The 28-year-old is contracted to Arsenal until the summer of 2024.

Elsewhere, Sead Kolasinac could be on his way to Olympique Marseille on a free transfer in the summer, though Napoli reportedly remain interested in his signature as well.

Speaking in his press conference ahead of the Carabao Cup semifinal first leg against Liverpool on Thursday, Arteta refused to answer questions regarding potential targets this month. Serbia international Dusan Vlahovic, currently plying his trade at Fiorentina, is the name mentioned in that aspect most frequently these days.

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