Arteta addresses questions about Balogun
Folarin Balogun. A name Arsenal fans hoped and expected to see more before the start of the current campaign.
However, things have obviously not gone down that route. The young center forward was thrown straight into action at the start of the season at Brentford Community Stadium.
But it looked like a step taken too early. The American-born England youth international was taken off before the hour mark and again looked insipid when brought on against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea the next weekend.
Since then, he has only played seven minutes of football for the senior team. And that too came against an academy West Brom side in the Carabao Cup second round tie.
Premier League 2 top scorers:
1. James McAtee (Man City) – 10
2. Dilan Markanday (Tottenham) – 8
3. Jes Rak-Sakyi (Crystal Palace) – 7
3. Folarin Balogun (Arsenal) – 7
5. Street, Burns, Devine, Okoflex, Gelhardt, Ferguson – 6
Next up ⏳ pic.twitter.com/iVYVzpte4g
— Matchday365 (@Matchday365) October 25, 2021
Thus, naturally, it has led to many Arsenal supporters questioning whether he will be given further chances this season. If not, then he must be going out on loan in January?
“We will see what happens,” responded Mikel Arteta when quizzed about the same situation. He continued, “Again, with Flo we have a really clear project.”
“The steps that he’s making, they are the right steps.”
“Don’t forget he is really young, he hasn’t played almost any professional football, and you need to go through every phase – and don’t try to jump phases when you are not ready to do so.”
The Spaniard then hinted that the club would see in December “what’s best for him.”
The fanbase is still divided whether Nketiah should be given the minutes instead of Balogun
Hopefully we send Balogun on loan in Jan cos this season is just a waste for him atm. Happy Eddie scored but you have to be asking why he’s getting minutes when he’s leaving in the summer
— Tony Soprano (@SVCarbaholic) October 26, 2021
At the moment, the place in the team which should apparently be Balogun’s is being held by his senior at Hale End, Eddie Nketiah.
The Englishman, who refused a contract extension in the summer, and looks to be heading out of the Emirates Stadium for free, is the only thing that is between where Balogun is at the moment and where he would want his situation to be in.
Many still believe that the 20-year-old is a more rounded player than Nketiah but the England U21 international’s recent appearances have been extremely impressive.
And as a result, we hardly see that discussion come up in footballing circles.
Arteta cannot be blamed for picking Nketiah over Balogun as it’s clear who can make a greater impact on the pitch, in the current moment.
But my question is if Arsenal came to knew that Nketiah was not leaving Arsenal in the summer, why didn’t the club try to find a club for Balogun to go out on loan.
People have been more focused on Patino but Balogun getting game time is essential.
He's been absolutely dominating the U23s and surely looks like a player ready for first team minutes.
Otherwise, we should be looking for a loan in Jan, he's too good for just U23s.
— Arsenalog (@TheArsenalog) October 26, 2021
Although he can still go out in January, six months are a lot in football. Especially for a developing young player.
The Gunners hierarchy made a similar mistake last year by not loaning out Reiss Nelson.
A whole year was wasted in his career and the winger is still struggling to break into Feyenoord’s first team due to match fitness issues.
I just hope that Arsenal learn from it, as these mistakes can eventually come back to bite them. And obviously, it’s not a nice situation to be in.