Arsenal close to agreeing Folarin Balogun Middlesbrough loan as one of three exits

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Arsenal are set to loan 20-year-old striker Folarin Balogun to Championship side Middlesbrough until the end of the season, Express Sport understands. Confirmation of the deal’s completion is now expected before the end of the week as Chris Wilder closes in on another Premier League frontman.

Wilder, who has got ‘Boro back on track in their play-off push since replacing Neil Warnock, has already landed Aaron Connolly on loan from Brighton.

Now Balogun looks set to join the Irishman at the Riverside in the coming days.

Talks have progressed well since Middlesbrough outlined their interest in borrowing Balogun, with promises of regular game time.

A decisive factor in Wilder’s pitch was that he tried to sign the Arsenal academy graduate during his time at Sheffield United.

The Blades are understood to have seen two bids rebuffed by the Gunners in September 2020 before Balogun signed a long-term contract with Arsenal in April amid interest from a number of German clubs including RB Leipzig.

Now the Arsenal board are ready to accept Middlesbrough’s loan proposal and Balogun is not the only exit expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

Middlesbrough are expected to entire the player’s wages throughout his stay in the North East.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is having his Roma medical today in London ahead of his loan move to Serie A.

The Gunners had been looking to include an option or obligation to buy within the deal but instead settled on a straight loan.

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Maitland-Niles will then fly to Rome on Thursday if all goes to plan.

Everton had been close to signing the versatile 24-year-old last summer before Mikel Arteta blocked the deal – prompting Maitland-Niles to vent his fury on Instagram.

Now he looks set to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Tammy Abraham, Chris Smalling – his new teammates – and Fikayo Tomori.

Young Arsenal defender Harry Clarke is also set to join Scottish side Hibernian on an 18-month loan deal after he was recalled from his spell with Ross Country.

Express Sport understands the deal will also include two break-clauses – one this summer and one next January.

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