Mertesacker names the youngster ‘closest’ to first-team football & set for loan

Per Mertesacker has claimed that Folarin Balogun is the most likely name to break into the Arsenal first-team in the near future, before adding that he is likely to leave on loan in the coming window.

The striker made his first-team debut last term, impressing in the Europa League with two goals and assist from just over an hour’s football.

He had to wait until this season to make his Premier League debut however, starting against Brentford in our first match of the campaign with all of Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all ruled out.

After coming off the bench against Chelsea in our second outing, he has since returned to the Under-23 side, but Head of Arsenal Youth Mertesacker still believes he is closer than any of his rivals in the race to break out into the senior side.

“I think the closest, at the moment, to make that step is Flo Balogun,” he told Football.London.

“He’s transferred in to the first team dressing room.

“He still plays 23s football and probably most likely will go on loan in January.

“Because you need extra exposure to get to that next level so he needs to make that transition.”

This reaffirms previous thinking, despite many calling for the likes of Charlie Patino or Miguel Azeez to be the ones to get their chance.

Balogun’s only setback is that we have three more experienced options ahead of him in the pecking order, plus the fact that he didn’t take either of his two chances in the top division with both hands at the start of the term.

We will be keeping a close eye on his progress out on loan, with preference to see him play in the Premier League if possible, although guarantees over minutes must take priority over the division he plays in.

Which other youngsters are you sure will make the cut in the first-team in the coming years?


Tags Folarin Balogun Per Mertesacker


  1. Per Mertesacker, the soon-to-be interim manager to follow the sacking of Arteta. That’s my hope at least. Maybe we could just save some money and give him the full title straight off the bat. I’m convinced he would be a big improvement over the current candidate.

  2. If by breaking into the first team means relying on other injuries to get minutes then yes I agree.

    If he mean to start getting decent minutes from the bench consistently the mo chance!

    1. I agree. Only reason Smith Rowe and Martenelli were uses was due to injury and nit because Arteta had an eye for talent.

      1. Very very true. I’ve said the same many times before. Arteta only began using Smith Rowe because of fan pressure over Willian’s underperformance and arteta’s stubbornness to continually play him even while the team was loosing, so as to justify his signing. Same with Martinelli. If he had his way, Saka would not be playing for our team.

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