By Daniel Feliciano

25th May, 2023 | 5:40pm

West Ham United are “heavily interested” in signing Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun this summer after his record-breaking season out on loan.

The newly-declared USA international has scored 20 goals in Ligue 1 while on loan at Rennes, becoming the first American to notch that number in a top-five European league.

AC Milan have been linked with a €30m (£26m) move for the 20-year-old who doesn’t want to return to the Emirates Stadium without an assurance of first-team football, and the Hammers are now keen to bring him to east London according to Get Football News Italy (24 May).

“Football journalist Steve Kay has exclusively revealed to the Get Italian Football News team that the Hammers are heavily interested in the Gunner’s promising number-nine as it seems that Italian striker Gianluca Scamacca is tipped for an exit following his unsuccessful first-year stint since joining from Sassuolo last summer,” they wrote.

With Arsenal heavily interested in Declan Rice, it remains to be seen if they use the young striker in negotiations to get a deal over the line.

Yes please

It’s a bit mental to think that we need to sign a striker again having signed Gianluca Scamacca last summer from Sassuolo and then signing Danny Ings in January from Aston Villa.

But Ings has struggled to make an impact and is the wrong side of 30, Michail Antonio looks likely to leave for more regular first-team football and Scamacca’s future is up in the air with a return to Italy mooted.

That leaves a gaping hole for a young, hungry striker like Balogun to come in and fill and compete with whoever is still around by the time next season starts.

Mixing him into a deal for Rice is probably not the best idea considering we want to get the maximum price for him and they will want to lower that, but it’s definitely a deal we should look to do separately if possible.

It’s likely to be another busy summer at the London Stadium and hopefully with Europa League football in our schedule we can attract the top talent too.