Should Arsenal go all out to keep Folarin Balogun?

Why Arsenal must keep hold of Folarin Balogun by Yash

The 19-year-old striker Balogun has made just five starts for Mikel Arteta’s men. Still his name keeps cropping up on a regular basis due to his contract status.

Everybody knows the drill. When a young player is immensely talented, their name is bound to make news, despite them being barely utilized in the first team. It is a similar case to Hudson Odoi. The club was continuously shouted at by the Chelsea faithful for not giving the young Englishman the minutes he needed for his development.

But Arsenal should be extremely careful in this situation. Even though Arteta and the Arsenal board are desperate to keep hold of the British-American, they should not just go out and throw him in the first team picture.

This, naturally, would send a wrong image, as other younger and talented Arsenal players would know what they really need to do if they want to enter Arsenal’s first team.

But Folarin Balogun is not just “any other player.” He is one of the most sort-after young players in Europe. To put that into more perspective, Arsenal rejected a £5m offer from Brentford in January 2020 for the prolific academy star, when he was nowhere near the first team. Advances from fellow Premier League club Sheffield United were also reportedly declined at the beginning of the campaign.

“No, I’m still very positive that Flo is going to stay with us and it’s what we’re trying to do as a club, and it’s what I’m trying to do as a manager,” Arteta told Arsenal.com.

“As far as I know from last week, the player wants to be here, so I’m positive. I think he’s made some big progress in a few months.”

He first rose into prominence in the 2017/18 season when he scored an impressive nine goals and assisted three times in the 14 U18 Premier league matches he featured in. The 19-year-old, who was born in New York but eventually moved to England at the age of two, has never looked back. An even better 25 goals and four assists were recorded the following season. While at the same time, he was slowly establishing himself at the under 23s level by racking up a few appearances here and there. When he eventually got promoted to the under 23s, his stats never took a serious blow. The then 17-year-old ended the PL 2 season on 14 goal contributions, almost one per match.

This season has been quite underwhelming if we compare him with his own “standards of the past.” One positive that he can reflect upon would be scoring two goals in the five appearances he made for the first team.

Nobody is doubting him and saying this is not a special player. If Arsenal intend to keep him beyond this summer, they must lay out a plan for their young.

Whatever happens, whether Arsenal choose Balogun over Nketiah, or whether they convince him to first gain experience somewhere else on loan. In the end, you do not get many youngsters who score within 37 seconds on their debut, do you?

Should Arsenal make sure that Balogun doesn’t leave the Emirates?

Yash Bisht

Tags Arteta Balogun

20 Comments

  1. Defund_My_Opinion says:

    He got minutes, played very well for the short time he played, then didn’t get further opportunities. Doesn’t really make sense to be honest.

    We should give him some more minutes so we know if he is worth holding on to or not, it’s not that complicated.

    1. Shortboygooner says:

      Had lacca auba and nketia ahead of him. He stopped getting minutes because he hasn’t signed a contract.

      I think if he does sign we will sell or loan nketia but he still has to contend with martinelli as well.

      Seems like a good player to me we need to sign him and loan him out

      1. Defund_My_Opinion says:

        Exactly my point. Over the last few months Auba was barely scoring, Eddie wasn’t scoring and Laca was scoring a couple goals.

        Would the last few months not have been perfect to get him the minutes so management can make a more informed decision?

        A contract works both ways, people forget that. He should show the club he wants to be there by committing but at the same time the club needs to show they want him there too by giving him at least a bit more game time.

      2. chris says:

        We should tell him the club is moving Nketiah on. He is the one who has had lots of game time without looking the part.

  2. Harrison Lee says:

    Yes Absolutely! he is a promising forward. we should keep him.

  3. McLovin says:

    Hmm, I think there’s something going on like this:

    Lacazette and Nketiah will enter final year of their contracts. They will be kept playing so we can find a buyer for them in the summer. Balogun has been told that if he signs with Arsenal, he will have a role to play next season.

    Wouldn’t make sense to bench Nketiah now in favor of Balogun if we want to make some money from selling Eddie..

    From what I’ve seen from Arteta, he keeps on saying that Balogun wants to stay. And we haven’t heard from BAlogun that he would leave or any news of a pre-contract agreement.. In example, Alaba already stated he will leave Bayern. So seems like Balogun leaving is not concrete yet.

    Still little hope..

    1. OnceGreat says:

      That actually makes a ton of sense. I honestly hope the club intends to sell Laca because there will never be a better opportunity to do so.

      I’m sure Atletico would be more than happy to splash 30ish million pounds for him. And to offload an aging forward for that much should be a no-brainer.

      As for Balogun, he must get his chance next season. He could hit the ground running.

      1. jon fox says:

        Once Great, Your fanciful financial,expectations of£30mill ish exclude the fact that no clubs have any spare money. To expect that sum for the ageing LACAZETTE in todays Covid market is totally unrealistic.
        I doubt we would get even half that sum. More like £10 mill at best. The world has changed, in case you have not noticed. Don’t expect high fee incoming OR outgoing transfers this summer.

    2. gotanidea says:

      Your thought makes sense

      Whether Balogun is worth to keep or not, only the coaches know how good he is. But in my opinion, he’s not as special as Saka

    3. PJ-SA says:

      Great point McLovin

      The problem with that is from Balogun’s perspective it’s terrible management.

      You are sitting behind a guy that barely scores and has a ton of changes in Eddie but you are still not getting game time regardless of how bad he is.

      With MA’s history of favourites and playing time NEVER guaranteed to develop, I’d be cautious myself of risking my future rotting on the bench.

      1. chris says:

        Correct. Nketiah is the problem and he has had plenty of chances.

  4. Fan says:

    I think Balogun and his agents are having poker faces. They are keeping quiet because they are personally finding the best deal with the most money. His agent is offering him to any club and seeing who pays the most £££. I’m pretty sure his agent is looking at the £££ over playing time regardless what they say. playing time is not guaranteed… look at ozil and bale…😳

  5. Danny says:

    Its straight forward sell neketiah and promote balogun better in every department unfortunately we don’t have a manager that knows what hes doing so balogun will prob leave for nothing!!

    1. chris says:

      Arteta has achieved much in a short time. At long last we can now defend and he has got Xhaka and Laca and Luis playing well. Meanwhile Saka and ESR – as well as Martinelli – are looking the business.

      1. Owei says:

        Did you say Laca playing well??? The only justification for a striker playing well is when he starts scoring goals, Lacazette in my opinion is what I call a defensive striker, please don’t tell me about work rate which is secondary for a striker.

      2. Dboy says:

        The Premier league is a very difficult league. Look at how Chelsea spent on players that were tipped to set the stage alight. They look bang average. And this can dent the young talents confidence. So Manage them properly and gradually let them introduce them to the big stage. Great example is what Pep did with Foden.

  6. Owei says:

    We have not seen much of Balogun to determine if he can be Arsenal standard but we won’t see much if he is not given the chance, what I sure know is that Balogun will surely be better than Nketiah and should be given his fair chance.

    Just like Lacazzete, Nketiah has work rate but work rate with out end product(goals) for a striker is useless as the primary responsibility of a number 9 is to score goals

  7. Dboy says:

    I think we should keep, but at the same time we should not set a wrong president for future stars. Players need to learn to be patient. Saka and Smith-Rowe did not go about it in this manner. And Balogun will get his chance, No need to rush things especially in the Premier league, it can backfire. Problem seems to be with a greedy agent.

  8. RSH says:

    No, dont go all out. Just be honest. And if he signs, he signs. If his demands are as ridiculous as has been reported, Arsenal shouldn’t fold. Either way, Laca needs to be sold, Nketiah too if possible. And we need a new ST in the summer. If Balogun doesn’t want to earn his place and expects it to be handed to him, then he can sign for another club. Arsenal need to stop succumbing to player power.

  9. Ackshay says:

    So basically you are saying arsenal should bend over for that sad excuse of a human being we call a football agent. Arteta has repeatedly said we want him to stay and he also wants to stay but the problem is with his agent. Neither balogun or his agent denied this.

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