Mikel Arteta sends a clear message to Folarin Balogun

Has Arteta Given Up On Balogun? By Dan Smith

Mikel Arteta again showed his ruthless streak on Thursday by not selecting Folarin Balogun in his squad even though the club are trying to convince the striker to sign a new contract.

As things stand the youngster can leave on a free transfer next summer, with wages not an issue, but him wanting to be convinced a route to the first team is realistic.

To give you an indication of how highly Arsenal rate the 19-year-old, there are rumours we turned down a 3million bid from Sheffield United, our last chance to get a fee for the teenager. Instead we have chosen to use the next 12 months to convince the player to stay.

So if his agent is saying his client’s reservations are a lack of opportunities, you would think our manager would at least have him on the bench in the Europa League, especially when you can name subs.

It doesn’t send out the best message to the player. If reassuring him was a priority, then surely the group stages of Europe’s secondary competition would have been an ideal platform to give him an opportunity? Once we get to the knockout stages, it’s hard to see when he will play.

We still have to play Vienna at home and travel to Norway and Ireland. Those are three fixtures he could start, but would that be enough to convince him to stay?

As shown though in midweek, his boss isn’t going to play him just to pacify his ego. Some coaches would take on board the contractual situation but ours has always maintained anyone who is not meeting the expected standards won’t feature.

Remember Balogun looked decent when he came on against Dundalk so the fact his reward is not making the next 23-man squad tells us two things.

Have both parties reached an impasse where they accept he’s leaving, or has Arteta not been happy with what he’s seen in training.

The Spaniard’ s post-match words were, ‘Chances will come with their performance on the pitch and in training. It’s the best way for them to learn the standards that are required at this football club. If not, then you are not good enough to play here.’

Sounds like to me the praise he’s been getting from the youth set up may have gone to his head.

There is also every chance Arteta, who prides himself on his values, isn’t too impressed that a youngster is expecting so many guarantees.

Let’s be honest if you need to be promised first team football to sign a new deal, you need to be a certain standard.

Neither Arteta nor Arsenal have to justify their record when it comes to giving youth a chance. If Eddie can get a chance so can Balogun.

Perhaps the example to look at might be a Joe Willock who’s attitude in contrast has been complimented this week.

Unless Arteta has already given up on Balogun?

Dan Smith

Tags Folarin Balogun


  1. IMHO ,Balogun is a lot better than Nketiah. Seriously, Nketiah cannot be a game changer or even goal poacher, no special talent i saw on Nketiah which Balogun has. Balogun will become a Big Things for many years ahead. Mark my words, if Arsenal sell Balogun, he will become like Serge Gnabry today.

  2. I think your analysis is right, Dan. It seems Arteta is miffed he’s expecting that his record at youth levels alone is enough justification for first team inclusion. Arteta is adamant that work ethic in training is fundamentally linked to a starting place. Thus if Balogun isn’t making the first team squad, I bet he understands why even if he feels entitled to sidestep that obstacle.

    I hope he kicks on, impresses the boss and gets a handful of appearances this season – enough to sign a deal – but if not, I trust Arteta to make the call according to his values.

  3. I’m still saying that Arteta has a problem of managing youngsters. He might be good in other areas, but managing young players is his biggest downfall. Look at Seliba, Martinelli, Gouendouzi, and Maitland-Niles

    1. How has he got an issue with youngsters?

      For the life of me I cannot see it.

      Martinelli is injured and has been since training resumed post lockdown.

      MG has an attitude problem and is totally unprofessional in what he said to the Brighton players and whjat has been said about what happened in Dubai.

      AMN is playing regular football and he plays in the big games more often than not.

      Saliba it seems isnt ready yet considering how tough the last year has been for him on and off the pitch.

      So please enlighten me on what facts you have to back up your opinion.

      WE all know you dont like MA so please back up what you say, otherwise its just all nonsense

    2. I agree.
      Before Martenilli’s injury, he was suffering under MA while he was doing great before him.
      This only one example, we have not seen Saliba but he can’t be bad enough to not play against the Europa league sides, he should ve been registered ahead of Mustafi who was injured and in the last year of contract anways.

      1. Could be that martenelli was already playing hurt and close to it and given his selflessness wouldn’t have reduced his ridiculously high work rate so was benched to protect his body in the long term. Or he just simply needed time to adapts to the system that arteta wanted then unfortunately got hurt in training.

    3. Completely agree, Yup and fans are too blinded at the moment. You will see them agreeing and pointing to same things if GOD forbid we go on a loosing streak. This is not the first player MA has has issue with, now can some one explain to me why in all these situation there is only one thing common and constant…Mr Arteta. He needs to learn how to manage young players as well and it’s not a bad thing this is his first job, no one is perfect but it will be his down fall if he starts to think he knows everything and does not need to change his ways at all.

      1. Mohsan well MA apparently does not know as much as you, so would you please letus all know in detail exactly how you would change and correct the many mistakes you claim MA has made and esp with mismanaging young players. Most of us think MA is doing well; obviously we are all wrong and you alone are right!

  4. I wish it was during Wenger’s era. Arsenal has relented youngsters at the moment. He gavers youngsters like Gibbs, Wilshere, Walcott, Fabregas, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry, Ramsey, and Anelka plenty of chances

    1. Top Gunner and what did all those youngster win for us during Wenger time. Look I don’t agree with arteta on something’s but he’s the coach and I trust his judgement.

  5. To be frank, Nketiah had a much better record in the U23s than Balogun, and now he is struggling a little to displace our main striker. I guess Balogun is crazy talented and offers something different to Nketiah, so for the sake of variety, he should be considered. Also I heard that he is 2 footed, so that is a good asset to have. But I hope we don’t have ego problems like we had with Anelka, lol.
    That said I am waiting for Martinelli to be back. I wonder if we play Eddie and Martinelli as a duo, or either of them with a tall striker like the new Swedish guy we have, would it add new dimensions to our attack?

  6. 20yr old Anelka was so good that after one season, Real Madrid came knocking on our door. Currently, Arsenal has a balanced team. We only need to integrate this youngsters slowly. The problem with Arteta is that he does not trust youth, but rather go with old horses

    1. Agree Top Gunner. It looks like it’s either his way or high way from what we have observed so far. I just hope fans don’t become so blind that they even glorify his mistakes which seems to be happening. If UE did the same thing he would have been slaughtered by same set of fans, now trend seems to be you can not criticize or point out something worng with MA.

    2. Gibbs 2 FA Cup
      Wilshire 2 FA Cups
      Walcott 3 fa cups
      Fabregas FA Cup
      Ox 3 fa cups
      Ramsey 3 FA Cups
      Anelka prem and FA Cup
      Clichy prem, FA Cup
      Cole – 2 prem , 3 FA Cup
      Majority of time those youngsters all played in Cl , a few in a CL Final

      So as things stand better then current crop – a group who finished in our worst finish in 25 years and never played CL
      One started in fa cup final

      1. Facts are a wonderful thing to refer too, when proving a point Dan.

        I’m surprised that you needed to point them out, but it seems that the AW years and his players are always viewed in a negative way. Shame really.

  7. I am quite happy to let MA be the judge of when any player should be picked.
    As I see it, several youngsters are getting chances to prove they have the right attitude and the right standard. They deserve nothing more, nothing less.

  8. Sure balogun is a very talented youngster but to have the balls to demand playtime when you are basically a nobody mustn’t have been the best thing to do especially after the guendouzi situation. Balogun situation is world apart of gnabry situation so don’t compare them

    1. So in your opinion it is bad for a player to ask for playtime?? Really??. If he is good enough and talented then why should he not ask for opportunities to prove his self. If all the young players think like you then we would not have Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Mbappe …etc etc.

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