Unless Nigeria acts fast, the United States of America (U.S.) may steal Arsenal starlet, Folarin Balogun. In fact, American football lords plan to make the forward, who is leading the scorers’ chart in France, the poster boy of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which they will host alongside Canada and Mexico.
Balogun, who is currently playing for Reims on loan from Arsenal, is still eligible to play for England, Nigeria and the U.S. men’s national team.
Recently, the 21-year-old, who was born in New York, told a local website that he is interested in playing for the country of his parents, Nigeria, adding, however, that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must first contact him to convince him to do so.
With 15 goals in 23 matches, Balogun sits tied in first place in the Ligue 1 scoring charts alongside Lille’s Jonathan David and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe.
However, according to some, the USMNT and Nigeria could offer more playing time and room to build a legacy, even if they haven’t performed as well in recent international tournaments.
According to express.co.uk, U.S. fans are doing everything they can to convince him to choose their national team over anyone else.
The reports reveal that several comments under Balogun’s latest posts on Twitter include emojis of the United States flag, as well as pleas for him to make the switch back to his home country ahead of the 2026 World Cup.
Those messages are now being relayed by former U.S. international, Eric Wynalda, who has given Balogun three different reasons to snub England and Nigeria in favour of a return to the Stars and Stripes.
In 2000, Wynalda retired from the United States’ national team as its all-time leading goalscorer and believes Balogun is the answer to their current goal scoring issues.
He told The Action Network’s Wondergoal Podcast, “If we get Folarin Balogun we solve a lot of problems. I’m impressed with everything about him. The power that he has, the timing of his runs.”
Wynalda then explained how the U.S. can turn Balogun’s head by offering a star role at the World Cup and beyond.
He added: “If you look at the circumstances that he’s in and the team he’s playing for, they’re mid-table and he’s playing for a manager that’s 30 years old and the club have to pay a £20,000 ($25,000) fine because he doesn’t have a licence to coach at that level.
“We have to appeal to his ego, which is the reality of this. We should let him know that he will be a star. An absolute star at a World Cup, in his own country as he was born in New York.”
Wynalda concluded that if Balogun opts for England, he won’t become a star – whereas, he will with the U.S.
He affirmed, “We need to lock him in with some sponsors too. He will be a star with us. He won’t necessarily be a star with England.
“It will come down to how important it is for him to be in the spotlight. That’s the only chance we’ve got to get him. Everything from the Mastercards, the Budweisers, the Coca-Cola’s, the big ones that will be sponsors of this World Cup. They have to figure out how to fit him into the budget.”