Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun is hitting the peak of his club career after he bagged his first professional hat-trick in Reims’ 4-2 win over Lorient.
Before the heroic and sparking display against Lorient, Balogun scored an equaliser against Ligue 1 giants PSG at the death to force the Parisians to drop two points at home in front of their fans.
The 21-year-old continued from where he stopped in the French capital in the game against Lorient.
The striker got going with a penalty late in the first half to get Reims back into the game at 2-1.
Kamory Doumbia levelled early in the second half before Balogun took centre stage around the hour-mark.
He firstly converted at the near-post to complete the turnaround and grab his second of the evening.
And just three minutes later he grabbed his hat-trick with a sensational first-time volley to earn his first professional hat-trick as a player.
The USA-born England youth star now has an incredible 14 Ligue 1 goals in just 20 games after joining the Ligue 1 club on loan from Arsenal.
That’s more than Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and the most in the whole of the French top-flight.
In fact, only Harry Kane and Erling Haaland have more league goals this season in Europe than the prolific youngster.
Who is Folarin Balogun
Folarin Jerry Balogun, born on 3 July, 2001 in New York, United States, is an Arsenal player who is currently plying his trade on loan at French Ligue 1 side Reims.
Balogun started his youth career at Aldersbrook before joining Arsenal youth team in 2008.
He played for 12 years for Arsenal youth before making his first senior appearance for the Gunners in 2022. After just two appearances for Arsenal, Balogun was sent on a loan spell to Middlesbrough in 2022, where he made 18 appearances, scoring 3 goals.
He also joined Reims on loan same year, where he had witnessed a great leap in his career.
He has made 20 appearances for the Ligue 1 side and have scored 14 times for the club this season.
After joining the club in August 2022, Balogun scored on his debut, netting the team’s only goal in a 1-4 defeat to Marseille.
Before the game against Lorient, Balogun scored a stoppage-time goal that saw Reims hold Ligue 1 giants PSG to a dramatic 1-1 draw at Parc Des Princes.
The goal against PSG was his 11th of the season and he already broke record, being the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to score that number of goal at 21.
Style of Play
Balogun is known for his speed and intelligence on the pitch. He wins speed duels against opponents, and has been compared to Arsenal’s legendary striker Ian Wright.
The USA-born England youth player says he learnt a lot from former PSG forward and Uruguayan Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Robert Lewandwoski.
Balogun is of Nigeria descent although born and raised in USA. He had reportedly indicated interest in playing for Nigeria but had preferred to go with England due to their style of play which he said is similar to Arsenal.
He is yet to break into England senior national team, and is now plying his trade with England U-21 team. He has made 13 appearances for the team, scoring 7 goals.
Balogun goals for Reims this season