Chris Wilder confirms Sheffield United enquiry for Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun

Sheffield United have made an enquiry for Arsenal's England Under-19 striker Folarin Balogun, Chris Wilder has confirmed.
ENQUIRY: Sheffield United have expressed an interest in Arsenal's Folarin BalogunENQUIRY: Sheffield United have expressed an interest in Arsenal's Folarin Balogun
ENQUIRY: Sheffield United have expressed an interest in Arsenal's Folarin Balogun

The Blades have made six signings this summer and Wilder is after one more, a player who can add speed to his forward line, as Oliver Burke has been signed to do. With Lys Mousset having undergone a foot operation, the need is even more pressing.

Liverpool's Rhian Brewster is thought to be be their top target but with plenty of rival interest, the Blades are having to looking at Plan Bs.

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There had been reports that Sheffield United and Arsenal were miles apart on valuation, but Wilder – who has shown with the arrival of Ethan Ampadu from Chelsea he is open to loans – suggested the interest is still active.

“We made an enquiry regarding the young man at Arsenal,” he confirmed.

“That's left with the CEO at our football club and at Arsenal.

“I wanted to affect different areas of the football club, which we feel we have done, and I wanted to bring young players in, which we have done.

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“The last one we've talked about at the top of the pitch we want attributes that hopefully suit us and move us forward.

“I've been vocal on it, we need to add at the top of the pitch, it's the most important part. We've got a decent selection of players but we want to add another one, especially with Lys missing for a little while.

“It's where games are decided. The other night (in Monday''s 2-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers) they capitalised on two individual mistakes, the finish from (Raul) Jiminez was great, and we've not capitalised on the chances they gave us or we created. It's key.

“We can't compete with a lot of teams in the division from a financial point of view so we have to be cute and smart to find players that improve us, and we'll keep doing that. We've made a few enquiries and hopefully before the window shuts we'll get one in to add to a decent group of forwards with two or three young boys starting on their Premier League journey.”

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Wilder has been clear all along that the first post-covid transfer window is a difficult one for his club.

“You look at Ollie Watkins coming out of the Championship (leaving Brentford for Aston Villa) and going for a huge amount of money,” he said of the reported £28m move. “It's not always just the fees, it's the wages. We need to keep a cap on the wages as well.

“I've said all along this is where the club's at. The Liverpool manager mentioned it as well and they're an incredibly established, historic, trophy-laden football club.

"We're a team that's come out of League One, we've not been a yo-yo club with parachute payments, our rise is a little bit different. Our owner gives me as much as he possibly can but he's not in the same league as three quarters of the owners in the Premier League. It's not a criticism.

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“We have to be smart and work harder than possibly anyone in the Premier League but I'm confident we can do it.”

The Blades have 11pm until october 5 to strike a deal for Balogun or Brewster.

How long Mousset will be out for is unclear, but it is not expected to be a long-term injury after suffering ligament damage under his toe in a pre-season friendly.

“I apologised to him afterwards because at the time it just looked as if somebody had just trod on his toe but it was a little bit more sinister than it first looked,” admitted Wilder. “The boy in the pre-season friendly had all his weight on Lys's foot and damaged the ligament underneath, it was quite an unusual injury.

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“After scanning we decided he should have a minor operation.

“It's disappointing for him because he came back in decent shape looking forward to another season in the Premier League to build on what he achieved last year.”

The Blades are set to have at least four debutants at Burnley in Thursday's League Cup second-round tie, with Burke, Ampadu, Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe all confirmed starters. Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham could also play if fellow summer signing Aaron Ramsdale does not.

The winners of the tie will play West Ham United in next week's third round.

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