Inter Milan are now set to make Arsenal their opening offer for the transfer of striker Folarin Balogun but only want to buy the USA international after an initial loan deal.

That is according to Chris Wheatley, who reports that Inter Milan are really interested in the transfer of Balogun. San Siro chiefs believe the 22-year-old can replace Romelu Lukaku after the Belgian returned to Chelsea. But Arsenal could frustrate any efforts the Nerazzurri make.

Inter Milan are not currently preparing an offer that meets what Arsenal would expect from Balogun’s departure this summer. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is also not yet sure whether or not he wants to let the striker leave. He is still eager to run the rule on him over pre-season.

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Inter Milan prepare their first offer for Folarin Balogun’s transfer

Balogun travelled with Arsenal to America for pre-season this summer after returning from a vastly successful loan spell at Stade de Reims. The USA international scored 21 goals in 37 Ligue 1 games in 2022/23. He would also feature in Arsenal’s friendly with the MLS All-Stars.

READ MORE: Everything we know about Arsenal’s 2023 pre-season tour

But Arteta left the forward on his bench in the Gunners’ defeat to Manchester United. Now, Wheatley notes that Inter Milan are preparing their opening bid for Balogun’s transfer from Arsenal. Although the Nerazzurri hope to see the striker switch to San Siro in an initial loan.

Inter Milan are willing to pay Arsenal €5m (£4.5m) to sign Balogun on loan for the 2023/24 season. The move would, however, include an obligation for the Nerazzurri to then buy him next summer for €35m (£30m). Yet Arsenal are not looking to sanction a loan-to-buy move.

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Arsenal want a higher sum to sanction a permanent transfer

Arsenal are demanding a higher overall sum for Balogun’s transfer and are only considering sanctioning a permanent deal this summer. The Gunners product only has two years left on his contract in north London. But many clubs are interested in securing his services, as well.

READ MORE: All Arsenal confirmed signings and transfers out in 2023/24

Reports by CBS Sports earlier this July noted that Arsenal could reject Inter Milan’s advances as they want £50m. Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and West Ham United are also in the race for his signature against further interest in the Premier League after a strong 22/23.

Arsenal had offered Balogun a new contract at the start of the summer given his form with Reims, too. Buy 90min – which also cites a £50m valuation – noted that the striker rejected the offer. It further notes that Balogun’s agents hope to get Arsenal to sell for £40m instead.

Even still, Inter Milan’s loan-to-buy offer for Balogun – who Reims boss Will Still described as ‘super complete’ – falls below Arsenal’s price tag and the fee his agents hope to be enough. So, the Nerazzurri will surely have to improve their £34.5m package to secure any transfer.

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