Balogun opted against competing for regular game time at Arsenal when making a push for the exits at Emirates Stadium and says Monaco have formed part of his thinking since first crossing paths with Gunners great Henry – who has played and coached at Stade Louis II. Balogun has told Ligue 1’s official website: “I spoke to him [Henry] before the games when I was young - when I was maybe 14 he came to coach. When I played against Monaco last year I messaged him before the game and he was just telling me about the club, the history, he also said the city is very nice. That put the thought in my mind, and over time it became more clear that this is the next step for me and the step I wanted to make.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Balogun proved in 2022-23 that he can be a leading frontman – as he starred at Reims and pledged allegiance to the USMNT – and he is hoping to kick on in the current campaign. He added on a breakthrough year: “It was my first season in professional football last season. Yeah, it was a big season for me - I wanted to show people I can play professional football and I think I was able to do that and now this is my second season at a new club, so... A new challenge but I'm very happy and I'm sure that I can have another good season, and that's my aim.”
Photos AS Monaco
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Balogun has signed a five-year contract with Monaco and will be hoping to fulfil his undoubted potential in the principality while also cementing his place in the U.S. squad ahead of Copa America and World Cup tournaments that are due to be staged on home soil in 2024 and 2026.