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?