Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus successor identified in Arsenal’s Under-23 squad
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Juventus have identified Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor as an Arsenal U23s squad member, according to reports.
The Portuguese superstar is streaks ahead of his team-mates for goals scored, with his 23 strikes 10 ahead of Alvaro Morata.
But Covid-19 has meant that the Serie A giants have reportedly had to consider the option of selling the £89m man to bring down their weekly wage budget.
And Spanish outlet Don Balon reports that the answer for Juventus may lie in north London.
Juventus have been tracking the progress of Folarin Balogun, the U23s captain who has 10 goals this season.
The English-American teenager has also made five senior appearances, mainly in the Europa League where he scored twice.
And the club see him as a “golden opportunity” to bring in a forward that will “relieve” Ronaldo of his duties upfront.
While the report also states there are several factors already playing in Juventus’ favour in pursuit of the CR7 replacement.
Balogun’s contract with the Gunners is up in the summer – and Mikel Arteta has been unable to persuade him to sign on again.
And this has seen the Serie A giants get “very close” to the 19-year-old, speaking to the forward about his future as “Ronaldo’s successor”.
It has also seen Arsenal “begin to give up” any hopes of keeping hold of the forward, with the expectation of his departure growing.
A move for the north London youngster would also fit Andrea Pirlo’s philosophy of brining in young talent to the Allianz Stadium.
And the last point in Juventus’ favour is Balogun’s dual nationality, having been born in New York before moving to London aged two.
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The report states he has both a US and English passport, meaning the challenges of Brexit to young players moving around Europe would not be so large.
Balogun would have big shoes to fill, with Ronaldo scoring 88 goals in 114 appearances for the Old Lady since arriving in 2018.
But the superstar’s incredible means he “can play until he’s 40”, according to the 36-year-old’s former fitness coach.
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