Arsenal mustn’t let Balogun hold them to ransom

Folarin Can Go. by AI

Folarin Balogun is a good player, no doubt. How good is he, however? Nobody knows. But we know he can be as good as Nketiah and can fetch a decent price in the transfer market within a few seasons. This means he is good value to add to the first team even if he fails to come good. Young, English players are pricey these days.

However, Folarin is putting himself in a difficult situation with the club. He is, according to reports, asking for immediate first-team minutes before he signs a new contract as well as wages more sizable than Eddie Nketiah’s, Reiss Nelson’s, Emile Smith-Rowe’s and Bukayo Saka’s.

He has a decent argument for himself. He is a young player at a big club where he can easily fall out of contention with each transfer window. If he is going to sign a new contract, he needs assurances one way or another that he will be played, or at least enjoy big wages failing that. He also considers himself to be a very good young player and the line of suitors at the door is some proof of that. Arsenal have to align with his ambition and that is a good thing to desire.

However, Folarin is missing the point. The club has at least 4 strikers ahead of him. Realistically, after Lacazette and Aubameyang, Martinelli would start ahead of him at center forward. Eddie Nketiah is also another option who Arsenal want to see how his development will go. Despite all the fan sentiment, Eddie Nketiah is more proven than Folarin Balogun at every level, including the youth league. Nketiah has been quite decent in the Championship, Europa League, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup competitions. Still only 21, it would be criminal for Arsenal to conclude that that’s how far he can go. Nketiah has goals in him, no doubt. The only question is how well his general play can be improved. This is down to the coaching staff. If they think they can improve Nketiah’s general play, then they must attempt to do so. Nketiah is already a 10-goal a season 21-year-old talent in the EPL if he plays full minutes. In two to three years, he may prove himself to be a 20-goal talent. Arsenal cannot gamble with that chance, especially when coaches like Arteta and Bielsa think he can be improved.

Folarin might be better. But the fact is that we do not know. However, Arsenal are willing to give him a chance by trying to extend his contract. This is the club that has trained him for years now. If Folarin thinks he won’t get chances at Arsenal because of reasons apart from his ability then he is short-sighted and badly advised. In two years, Arsenal will no longer have Aubameyang or Lacazette at the club. The position is essentially free for him to have a go at, even if it involves going out on loan.

Arsenal’s record with youngsters put the lie to the fear of not getting minutes. If he thinks he has what it takes to get into this Arsenal team, then he will have the opportunity to do so, especially now that Arteta is looking for a new striker.

If he does not sign a new contract, Arsenal will be daft to play him, as this will only give him more leverage against the club. Playing him and losing him is the worst option. No kid should have that kind of leverage against us. We are Arsenal and not some small club starved of good academy players. Only last season, we let Sam Greenwood go to Leeds.

We have no shortage of good quality youngsters, especially strikers in the academy. Tyreece John-Jules is the highest rated prospect and Nikolaj Moller has come in to challenge him for that assessment. Both of them are very good young strikers. Folarin Balogun is only older than both. Even if we lose all of them, we can still poach top talent from any academy in the world.

Emile Smith-Rowe was once regarded as the biggest prospect we had and yet he was sent out on loan. Bukayo Saka has been in and out of the team for two years now. Willock, Nketiah, Nelson, Maitland-Niles and even Iwobi were all once waiting for first team opportunities. None of them demanded huge wages to stay here. If we give Folarin Balogun what he is asking for, how much should the likes of Catalin Cirjan, Miguel Azeez and Charlie Patino ask for?

Loyalty is an essential part of what we should try to teach youngsters. Everyone knows that Arsenal will give minutes to any deserving youngster. This culture of loyalty and merit must not be bent by some kid who wants everything now. Arsenal don’t have to play Folarin. He should settle down, improve his attitude, work hard and wait for the opportunities that will surely come his way. If that is too much for him, then he can go. Hopefully, his representatives will give him the right advice. Opportunity at Arsenal is huge. His career can be shot into the upper echelon by the mere fact that he is associated with us. Less talented players have maximized that opportunity. And at the moment, there are plenty of very talented youngsters coming through in his position for us.

Agboola Israel


  1. Couldn’t have returned to JA at a more better time.
    Let the kid go if he wants to keep making demands.
    I already said so before, There’s nothing he has done that Eddie Nketiah didn’t do, plus like you said, Eddie’s already faced more tougher opponents than Balogun.
    Eddie’s gone to the championship and did it there.
    We’ve always known he’s a poacher. Nothing else they offer than goals.
    Flo should sign the thing and wait his turn like Smith Rowe did, if not he can butt out the club.
    We’ve been held to ransom by too many players we’ve trusted and invested in, allowing one U23 player do the same thing would be madness.
    I missed here

      1. Admin Pat thanks.. Keeping the site all fired up I see.
        I’ve seen a couple of articles I’d like to go through and I’m gonna take my time.

    1. Eddie did it in the championship? He wasn’t even playing much there since Bielsa didn’t trust him.. Get your facts right brother

      1. He wasn’t playing there very much because he has the same issue he’s having now!

        My facts are right brother, as I followed him while he at Leeds. Get your own facts right, maybe you should listen to Bielsa instead

        “Nketiah has developed at one club, Arsenal, and has to play at Leeds. I am not comparing the level of both. But you can see clearly the performance in one team or the other team. We don’t have the players who win the match themselves. ‘Big teams, like Arsenal, they have a lot of players that can win one match with one play. This is natural Nketiah has developed in this school.
        And he has all the resources, skills, to resolve the needs of scoring one goal. But we need to build the chance at goal. And we cannot build the chances if we don’t have a structure within all the players to create the chances.
        ‘You will see that every time is going to be less difficult to Eddie to be more similar to give this contribution to the team. When he in the last match went to the pitch at Preston, the match was played in the place of the pitch where he plays better, by the box.
        ‘Against Birmingham he was far from the box and without offensive creation. And against Birmingham he didn’t have a good match, against Preston he had an impact. To finish this explanation, the most important, what he does when we have to score.

        But Bamford is missing chances and Nketiah is scoring. But there is a fact before you score a goal, you build the situation that allow the chance to score.”

        I’m someone who follows the U23 players a lot. Maybe next time you should get your own facts right bro.
        The same problem Bielsa pointed out bout Nketiah’s game is still his problem.
        He’s hardly putting himself into games and team play. Always close to box too much so goes missing when he’s not scoring.
        I’m I supposed to listen to armchair managers who say Nketiah ain’t good because they forgot Nketiah already did what Balogun is doing now?

          1. The point is everyone keeps sounding as if Eddie’s a poor striker when’s he’s not.
            Bielsa made it clear what he prefers from his strikers Doesn’t mean Eddie can’t be a top striker. He’s just playing in a struggling Arsenal team.
            Poachers don’t contribute much to gameplays, why is that fact still debated? All they do is score goals while going missing

        1. 👍 Who are the “lot of players who can win games with one play” at Arsenal? Let’s hope Bielsa faces a few when Arsenal plays Leeds United on Sunday!

  2. My take is that no matter how talented a youngster may be,IF he is going to put himself before the team he wants to play for -and REMEMBER, it IS a team sport, not an individual one- then he will not be right for us. NO player , ever, no matter who, should ever be allowed to hold his club to ransom.

    And I am convinced that BALOGUN will not,indeed IS NOT, being allowed. Correctly and reassuringly.

    1. Continue worshipping a coach who doesn’t have your football knowledge, Arteta is a nobody in football world and he will be sacked at the end this season.

  3. Thought Balogun’s issue was about playing time and opportunities, not about money. Did you see him saying that somewhere?
    Secondly, the less said about Nketiah the better. He is a poacher at best, and that’s all. Sure he runs a lot and presses, but he offers no hold up play, can’t dribble or take on defenders, can’t create his own opportunities, to name a few.

    True we don’t know how Balogun would do given the same opportunities. Who’s fault is that? It’s the club’s fault for letting another young player run down their contract. It’s Arteta’s fault for not seeing him perform and deciding whether he’s worth fighting to keep or sell him on.

    1. Hopefully Arteta as a “competent” manager is well aware of the quality and progress of the players in the Arsenal Academy.
      Management of player contracts is another matter and has been abysmal at Arsenal. This should improve greatly with the appointment of Richard Garlick.

  4. I think from Balogun’s perspective he just wants the same kind of chance Eddie got which i wouldn’t say is unfair at all.

    Imagine someone at your work gets the promotion you were wanting and you know you are more deserving of….you’d likely want to leave if another company saw your value and made you an offer….just something for fans to think about from his side.

    If he had got a couple more chances instead of us flogging the dead horse that is Eddie maybe we’d know a bit more and in a better position to make a call. He could be great or could be bad, only 1 way to know.

    He clearly rates himself which has its pros and cons but anyway….should give him a 1 year extension with more game time and slightly increase his wages.

    If we give him a few more chances we’ll know if he’s worth it at Arsenal leveland if he’s not then at least he would’ve shown potential buyers a bit more likely increases his selling price….

    Either way let him play and see

    1. Err, there is NO selling price unless he signs a contract.
      His agent will earn fortunes when he leaves…..

      1. Clearly said give him a 1 year extension with more playing time, if he’s poor from now until end of season then sell.

      2. Admin Pat: What will prevent his agent from earning fortunes if he signs a contract with Arsenal?
        Are you saying they will both make more money elsewhere?

  5. Today Arteta said he’s positive that Balogun would stay and Balogun has been playing in U23 games to show what he can do to the coaches

  6. For every balogun and gnabry there is a Saka and a smith-rowe.

    If we kept every youngster there would still be people unhappy that we are not signing players to come in and prevent their development.

    There are loads of clubs jealous of the current young squad we have, especially our homegrown talent, but still we are not getting the right balance and many fans want to bomb out the likes of willock, maitland-niles, nketiah and Nelson.

    These lads are desperate to play for Arsenal but for whatever reason are not getting the chances. Not every youngster reaches his performance level at 19/20 some will be 25 when they find their best position and make it their own. Many youngsters hit their prime when they are 16/17 and never kick on.

    If balogun joins the likes of gnabry he might follow his path or he might follow the path that the likes of Fran Merida took and disappear off the face of the earth. He could end up like, Chuks Aneke or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and become a lower league journeyman.

    Whatever will be will be.

    1. 👍 Provided Arsenal applies all their expertise and effort to ensure they “back the right horse”. You can’t expect to get everyone right, however.

  7. No team, club or coach in the world will give playing time to an u23 contract rebel over those who have already committed their future to the club no matter how good he thinks he is. And that’s a fact.
    This is not about Arteta or whosoever, it’s just the right thing.

    1. With the exact same logic why should a player commit to a manager that has clearly shown he has distinct favourites regardless of form?

      A football career is a short one….it’s fair to want to play

      He is wanting a commitment to at least get a chance to show what he can do. I don’t think that’s unreasonable

  8. How much longer will we continue to play nice to expensive, ageing and overpaid superstars to the detriment of our young players with heart attitude and desire. All great young players/prospects carry a chip on their shoulder…. Guendozi, Saliba and now Balogun, the latest example. It is our duty as a big club to harness this energy to our advantage. If we are not prepared to do so then we should hand in our “man card” and concentrate on the ladies league.
    The real truth is we are getting nowhere near top 4 with our current crop of strikers.

  9. It was mentioned that he doesn’t put in a consistent amount of effort and his attitude towards teammates during matches can be frustrating…
    I assume that’s why – effort – we haven’t seen much of him in the first team?!
    I hope he does stay with us.. although I have my doubts. He wants minutes and if we can’t offer him what he wants, there’s plenty out there who can!!

    I hope he bangs in a brace against the Mancs tonight!!

  10. the team gave him all the leverage when they decided not to sell him last January, even though they put him in the shop window with a definitive price on his head, then they wouldn’t re-sign him for less than he may or may not be demanding now and with far fewer assurances regarding minutes…then in the summer, the last chance saloon for a team dealing with a player entering his final contract year, they decided to give Eddie the nod, which in my estimation was a mistake as you know exactly what you get from him, and adopted a much more petty stance by basically saying if you don’t accept far less and no guarantees for minutes, we will ice you out so that we might weaken your market value…this sort of all-too-common roll the dice approach to dealing with some of our best prospects started with Gnabry and obviously continues still…so now we have soured that relationship, like Saliba, which makes any chance for reconciliation far more problematic and we’re not going to get anything in return should he leave…in plain English, this was another example of really bad business practices by our oft-times inept club

    1. 👍 Bring back David Dein as a professional advisor to sort out the mess, since he was forced out. Be would probably do it for the rental on his private box at the Emirates. He won’t have to go out of his way, as he attends every home game.

  11. Depends what story you want to believe about this saga. If he is holding the club ransom with ridiculous requests then wave goodbye. When are we gonna learn our lesson about overpaying players? He’s done nothing to show hes better than Nketiah who was also outstanding in youth football. You should have nothing to bargin with before you’ve kicked a ball for the first team.

  12. Stupid argument. ” He has four senior strikers ahead of him”. Rubbish, we have the lowest scoring record in the top halve of the table, our position is tending towards relegation. What have the four senior strikers been doing?. If it’s about age then william should be starting ahead of saka on the right huh? If he is the sharpest, then he play ahead of them for goodness sake!!!

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