Former Gunner warns Balogun not to make the same mistake he did

Folarin Balogun has been urged to leave Arsenal by another former youth of the club.

Benik Afobe joined the Gunners youth academy at the age of six, and worked his way up the ranks, but was never given his Premier League debut by the club.

The 28 year-old now finds himself playing in Turkey on loan with Trabzonspor, with his parent club Stoke not able to offer him regular playing time.

Afobe had 40 goals in 33 England Under-16 appearances, and The Guardian once named him as the ‘next big thing’ back in 2010, but his only appearances for the first team came in the Emirates Cup in pre-season.

You would think that Balogun is already ahead of the youngster who failed to make the cut in North London however, having picked up five competitive appearances already this season, but Afobe is warning that his career could be headed the same way as his did.

“It all depends on your positioning and who’s ahead of you… Balogun, he’s good, I’ve seen him play,” Afobe told The Beautiful Game Podcast. “I think it’s the right decision for him to leave.

“The captain [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] is a number nine, the other number nine is top goalscorer this season, [Alexandre] Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah is a couple of years older than him and has also done well.

“If you want to keep waiting for your chance, before you know it you’re 23, and teams, managers will start picking up players who are more experienced in the Championship, who have 100 appearances to their name, instead of the guy from Arsenal who has played for England Under-19’s.

“And that’s kind of what’s happened to me as well.”

Personally, if a player is good enough, he will make it. Balogun has all the potential to be a big player, and he needs to concentrate on doing that.

Is Afobe just bitter that his career went down the pan? Should the player not be looking at himself for his failures instead of blaming Arsenal?


Tags Benik Afobe Folarin Balogun


  1. Arianaick, says:

    Big difference between afobe and balogun. Balogun is much better physically and very good ball in his feet.

  2. ozziegunner says:

    Hard to believe Afobe with the ability he showed at Arsenal can’t get a run at Stoke City. Maybe it says something about his work ethic?

  3. Mike says:

    I’d like to see Balogun, Saka and ESRowe playing together. See what this generation brought. See if Balogun would be an added bright star to the 2 others. And bring all an attack needs. A creative winger, an attacking midfielder and the striker of course.

  4. Defund_My_Opinion says:

    For all the fans that have been bashing Balogun for not wanting to sign without game time here is a perfect example of why he wants to have assurances he is part of the plans. He is certainly not demanding to be starting every game or to be a part of every single game.

    The guy wants to play football regularly and not sit on the bench, that should be admired. How many over-payed players nowadays are more than happy to take their wages and not play? Too many

    1. ozziegunner says:


  5. Ba Elkhirsawy says:

    Frankly G. Martenilli is not getting a no.# 9 enough chances, even though Auba is out if form and Eddie is not good enough. How many games Gabi started under Arteta or got 20+ minutes of play.

    Arteta keeps pushing him at 75+ minute of a game and unuse him for the next since he came (before injury last season when he was on top form and this year after return).
    It is frustrating but I won’t sign as long as Arteta is a coach, his man management is terrible.

    1. Arsenal fan says:

      exactly i love martinelli

  6. Sirjoe says:

    This Afobe guy is not good enough. He had several loan spell during that period and he never impressed. Is it playing time that affected him when he went on loan to the championship? No, the likes of ESR did the same and got their chance, there were people like Ozil in there in front of him, mkhitaryan, Ramsey, but he made it because he showed he’s good enough. Saka made it as well with people in front of him. There’s is a difference between banging goals in the under 18s and 20s and doing so in actually competitive games. Afobe didn’t just make the next step required. You can’t just go and guarantee a 19yr old playing time, you have to fight your way through and show you are good enough. If balogun wants to leave let him go, we don’t have striker issues at Arsenal.

  7. OnceGreat says:

    With all due respect, Benik was never even one 10th of what Balogun is. Also, Nketiah did horribly in the 1st team and will be shown the door as he should.

    That’s pure sour loser language right there.

  8. Davi says:

    No offence to Adobe, but it’s all about whether you can step up to the increased quality of the opposition and handle the pressure. I’m sure there are other players who look as good as Saka and ESR in the reserves who won’t do half as well in the first team. We’ve seen it so many times. It is what it is.
    For Balogun it’s the same, but one thing is for sure, he does need to be tested in first team football – he can’t prove himself if he never plays

    1. Davi says:

      Afobe – autocorrect

  9. gunnerpete says:

    It seems to me that some young players listen far too much to their agents and not enough to their friends and clubs that made them. This lad Balogun is good but a long way from a PL regular but his agent it telling him that they can make a killing elewhere ( mainly for the agent). I suggest that Balogun has a talk with Henry, Hleb, and many super stars who left because their agents were allowing poaching from others and they all really regret it. As for Afobe, he had it all except a brain. He was convinced that he deserved to be treated as the big man before he had earned the right. His attitude was his killer as it was with Andy Cole and other money grabbing Cole who left for Chelski!

    1. ozziegunner says:

      gunnerpete, a bit harsh on Cole, who came through the ranks, was arguably the best player in his position in world football and only wanted £50,000 per week.

      1. Phil says:

        I’m with you on Ashley Cole OG. He never demanded a move, but expected a contract that recognised him for what he was, which was the best LB in the World at this time. Even Wenger, reportedly, expected the Club to honour its commitment to the player.
        And it’s taken us to now to have a player that is of the same standard, if not better, than Cole was.

  10. Dboy says:

    Let me get this right. Afobe is laming Arsenal for not giving him a chance in the first team? And yet he is not cutting it at Stoke. 🤔 Am I missing something?

  11. Henry Lwanga says:

    This guy called Afobe is just a liar. Agood soccar player will be bought when he is still in academy , why is he not a top player in Turkey now yet he got playing time ,thats his frustration, he must stop talking with our good boys such silly, disgusting, and discouraging stories

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