By Noel Whelan

3rd Feb, 2023 | 1:30pm

Arsenal have 'next William Saliba' in the ranks after source's £50m-rated sensation reveal

Noel Whelan has backed Folarin Balogun to emulate William Saliba and return to Arsenal as a first-team-ready option following his successful loan in Ligue 1.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted everything the Gunners are doing is “coming to fruition” at present.

Balogun hit a hat-trick against Lorient on Wednesday (1 February) to catapult him to the top of the scoring charts in Ligue 1 – ahead of Paris Saint-Germain superstars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

The England Under-21 international has notched 14 goals and one assist in 20 outings for Stade Reims since joining on a season-long loan last summer (2022).

Football Insider revealed on Thursday (2 February) that Arsenal are confident that Balogun will soon be worth more than £50million as rivals line up bids for the young striker.

Saliba has been integral for Mikel Arteta’s side this term after spending three seasons out on loan in Ligue 1 – after initially signing for the Gunners in 2019.

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Whelan told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “Saliba is the prime example of what can happen when a young player goes out on loan.

“Everything Arsenal are doing right now seems to be coming to fruition. Whether that’s the new signings, the young players, or the existing players.

“Everyone’s thriving – and that bodes well for the future for Arsenal.

“Balogun is a player who can come back this summer and should give Mikel Arteta another option.

“If he can have anywhere near the same impact as Saliba, then it’s going to be yet another success story.”

In other news, expert suggests new Gabriel Jesus role after Arsenal training image emerges.