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?