Folarin Balogun, the 21-year-old striker on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims from Arsenal, has completed the process of registering himself as a US international, according to a FIFA source confirmed by CBS Sports.
Balogun, who was born in Brooklyn to Nigerian parents and emigrated to England at the age of two, was also eligible to play for Nigeria. Having represented England up to U-21 level, Balogun had to choose between the various nations he was eligible to represent, and he stated: “London is my city, it’s where I grew up, where my friends are, and if people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m English. But, yes, I am a mixture of all these cultures.”
Balogun has emerged as one of the most highly touted young strikers in the sport this season, scoring 19 goals in 34 games for Reims. He is expected to be sold by Arsenal this summer with the Gunners holding out for £35 million for their academy graduate. RB Leipzig are frontrunners among suitors from across Europe with West Ham also understood to hold an interest.
The change of association of Balogun from England to the USA has been approved by FIFA, making him available to represent the USMNT, and this news will be a welcome boost to the USMNT setup.
Balogun is likely to find himself at the top of the USMNT striker depth chart, a position currently occupied by the likes of Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, and Haji Wright, who have not had a successful run of form at the high level like Balogun.
Though there will be questions about Balogun’s off-ball work and how effective his link play is, the US now has a promising young player who can put the ball in the net. Balogun could make his debut for the USA against Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League on June 16.