Should Arsenal sell Balogun? That would be madness…

Sell Balogun – No way! by Patrick

Arsenal sent a host of players out on loan for the 2022/23 season and most of their performances have been impressive, but no one has been more impressive than Folarin Balogun. The American has taken the French Ligue 1 by storm with 20 goals and 2 assists in 33 league starts.

These are elite level stats for a player who was having only his first run of games as a starter in top level football. That only speaks to the fact that the 21-year-old has enormous potential as a centre-forward.

Arsenal scored 88 times in the league last season and were only second to eventual champions City, who scored a league-high 94 goals, and that is no mean feat. But there were times when it looked extremely clear that Arteta needed an upgrade on Jesus or Nketiah. The pair conspired to miss gilt-edged chances that cost Arsenal points. Perhaps if they had been a little more clinical, who knows? We would be referring to the Gunners as league champions and not City.

The footballing world today is devoid of elite centre-forwards, with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Karim Benzema in the twilight of their careers; and in Balogun, Arsenal have an up and coming elite striker, who, at only 21, ranked among the top 5 highest scoring forwards in one of the top 5 leagues in Europe last season. Then, why would Arteta sell him? Is Jesus or Nketiah a better goal-getter than Balogun? Absolutely not!

To think that Arsenal would sell the prolific American and retain Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah as their leading marksmen to steer them to the title next season is nothing short of ludicrous!

Yes, Jesus missed 3 months because of injury, but even before he went under the knife, he had been on a ten-game goal draught. So, finishing with 11 goals did not surprise anyone. Nketiah, for all his efforts, scored a measly 4 goals! How someone with 4 goals can be considered worth keeping at the expense of another with a 20-goal haul is beyond comprehension! Gabriel Jesus is a very good player. His centre-forward play is awesome. The way he harries defenders is jaw-dropping. Sadly, he’s not a 20 plus-goal-a-season striker that Arsenal badly need, Balogun is!

Should Arsenal sell Balogun? That would be madness! For me, Arsenal should not be going for a winger. They already have Jesus, who can be devastating on the right as we all saw during his last season under Pep Guardiola. Mikel Arteta must give Folarin Balogun a chance as a starting centre-forward. I’ve watched enough of him at Reims to confirm beyond doubt that he has what it takes to stake his claim at Arsenal. Reintegrating him into the team would offer Arsenal so much variety as they would have Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Trossard, Nketiah, Nelson and Balogun himself to choose from in those forward positions.

If Arteta has plans of selling Balogun, he must drop them and give the lad a chance, he deserves it!

Ssekatawa Patrick

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  1. Some of these opinions are really annoying and totally lack sense. Why on earth, would Arsenal sell Balogun to a team that has Lukaku, turn around and buy the same Lukaku with his hefty salary burden, poor delivery and injury issues? It doesn’t matter if it’s Inter or Milan. It just makes absolutely no sense to sell a striker who’s delivering and still go out to look for one. Something is really wrong with that kind of thinking.

  2. I don’t think he’s going to sign a new contract, so the timing to sell is perfect after his excellent season.

    Personally, I would sell Nketiah, and give Balogun, but that all depends on a contract extension.

    1. I would also prefer to keep Belagun and sell Nketia. But that does not appear as an option. However, from Belagun’s point of view, which CL team would he walk into that gives him guaranteed nr 1 status? For me, our striker position is light if we only have Jesus and Nketia.

  3. It never ceases to amaze me how much emphasis is placed on stats in modern day football by so many fans, particularly those of the younger generation.Stats which can be very misleading,are used in the professional game to identify players who may have promising potential and as a lead up to actually studying the player in the flesh over a number of games.At his time on loan with Middlesborough, I must have watched Balogun on 4/5 occasions and he did not impress me in any one game.It would appear he has moved on, but I think his scoring record includes a good number of penalties which in itself tends to inflate his record whilst his actual playing performance was ordinary.In any event, without having seen him in France, other than for the odd video clip, I am not in a position to pass judgement on the player but at the end of the day, Arteta and Edu will no doubt have received a dossier on Balogun from our scouts which will include their own recommendations on the player.Arteta and Edu will make their decision after due consideration and they will not be influenced at all by the views of fans.All will be revealed within the course of the next month or two.

    1. Yes the stats that matter to me are Goals scored and Goals conceded ! As a defender clean sheets mattered to me more than anything else (those were they days when defenders main job was to defend – and most times at all costs !).
      In today’s football you get CBs and to a degree MF players passing the ball 5 yards or so
      to a colleague and then getting it back again, repeating the process a number of times so that his “passing accuracy” figures are exaggerated. And often this isn’t even done with the intention of wasting time ! OPTA index my backside !

      1. Yes, but to me, it’s the number of goals the team scores and concedes – sometimes a better striker scores fewer goals than a worse one. I don’t think the team would be better with balogun up front than with jesus (even if balogun was able to outscore jesus at pl level), and I’m sceptical he’d be better than Eddie, who does involve himself well in the general play.
        In defence of stats, they have gotten to be quite insightful these days imo. They look beyond the number of passes to examine where those passes go, for example. Not saying it’s the be all, end all – I still prefer the eye test, but they are valuable imo

        1. I agree with you Davi on stats. The Eye test can be just as misleading as Statistics, for the reason that the Eye test is subject to individual tastes,biases and preferences. I know for instance a friend who likes players who do a lot of running around. My friend will most likely appreciate and judge a player to have played well even if the running doesn’t effect the game as desired. Tactical and technical preferences also influence the Eye test. Stats alone shouldn’t be used to appraise a player. Similarly, the Eye test,which is unique to each individual shouldn’t be used for the same. A combination of the two is ideal because from both, qualitative as well as quantitative appraisals can be made.

    2. He played under wielder , who has no clue how to use highly rated youngsters let alone develop them . He is a pie and mash style manager . Balogun had a poor experience but this is why he has excelled in France as he has been given an opportunity to play to his strengths.

      Selling nketiah would be the ideal thing , he needs to be playing game in game out , he offers nothing off the bench.
      Plus I reckon arteta will wait to see balogun in preseason before making a decision. Alot of clubs try to get there business done early and think clubs will just sell without seeing there player who has improved , in action in front of them.

    3. Grandad, also remember Nketiah’s underwhelming performances with Leeds United in the Championship.

  4. Why sell a player that has done well in France?
    It doesn’t make sense. He wants first team football. Give him what he wants.
    Arteta should install a competition between Nketiah and Bslogun for the 2nd striker spot with Jesus the NO. 1 striker.

    If Arsenal can get another top class striker, example Vahovic, then u can sell either Balogun or Nketiah.

    The option of retaining Balogun at Arsenal is the best when we look at how good our home grown players are doing after they departed from Arsenal.

    1. @Eddie Hung – you may be right. I have to admit I have only seen Balogun a couple of times for us and I realise he seems to have upped his game in France. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean he will achieve greatness in the PL, I have begun to feel that he should be brought back to the club (on a reasonable salary) and used to vie with a top quality CF who we must recruit during the summer.
      I think Eddie Nketiah is a lovely lad but don’t think he will ever be top notch. He probably needs to move elsewhere in order to get regular football. It’s a shame but there it is.

    2. Eddie Hung – sorry I should add that Jesus will never be good enough to be a real number 9 (CF) so recruitment this summer for a proper CF is imperative.

  5. After his successful loan spell, Balgun would likely kick on next season with a lot more fire and determination in his belly. It was the same with Saliba. That is why players are loaned. Personally I would give home a promotion into the first team at the expense of Nketiah who does not make the most of his chances when he gets them. At the same time, I do feel we need another tall strong striker who has good hold up play. Move Jesus out wide who can tuck in and pull defenses around. We all know what Martinelli and Saka can do already. We would be deadly if we just had better strikers!

  6. We can sell him and include a buy back clause. If he does not want to sign a new contract with Arsenal, then we should sell.

    Get a taller and stronger striker like Osihmen. We need a target Man like Osihmen

  7. I am not sure he wants to go. It seems likely that he is capitalizing on his fine form this season by putting his name in the newspapers and reminding people including at our club what he has done. He did similar things at international level, making a huge song and dance about who he would play for before making his choice. I assume his agent is encouraging all this, self promotion is part of the modern game and does not do too much harm if he can follow through.

    Putting this noise aside, he would have many reasons to come back to Arsenal. He would not be automatic first choice but he must fancy his chances of establishing himself. He must, as many others do, believe he is a better player than Nketiah who looks just short at this level and probably believes he is a better goal scorer that Jesus. If he can mimic the other areas of Jesus’s game, he has every chance of taking his place.

  8. Better try him out in pre-season first. If his playing style and abilities are too similar to Jesus’ and Nketiah’s, Arsenal could sell him

    The problem is Balogun may think he is too good to be tried out like that and deserves to start ahead of Jesus

    If Arsenal decide to sell him, they’ve got to move faster because Tuchel has indicated his intent to sign Vlahovic and Jonathan David would likely be in-demand as well this summer

    1. Agree with your last paragraph GAI. We need to move quickly. We got most done last year in the first few weeks which worked out well for us.

      I’m sure Edu and Arteta have already identified targets and plan B’s. Let’s just hope we get them all.

        1. I hope so too Gai.
          Arsenal don’t need to buy players above 30 years in my opinion, a diminishing returns always set in. You can’t predict their physical condition and fitness next season. There are still decent skillful young players to explore if Arsenal scout can do their home work well.

          1. If we need to weaken Man City by signing some of their players, I’d like Arsenal to sign Rodri

  9. Get a loan striker in for a 1 year deal like Lukaku for a plan B whilst giving Balogan a 1 year deal in a PL team whilst extending the contract.

    Then make a decision on him the following year.

    From a PR point of view with American owners it does not make sense to sell a USA striker (Balogan) and a USA defender in Trusty (to take the place of Holding).

  10. Just a little scenario to consider. Woild people for example. Sell Balogun to help fund the purchase of say Osimhen? Or keep Balogun and not get a new striker?

  11. I believe Balogun should be given a chance by MA.even if he has a bad/quiet season for different reasons like not playing much,not getting a proper run and coming on from the bench for 19 minutes here or there.he will still have many suitors,that i have no doubt.

  12. I would sell Eddie in preference to Bologun who I would initially use as backup whilst looking to extend his contract .I would then be looking for another striker who offered something different. In this respect Toney would suit given his greater physicality.Perhaps a swap deal with Brentford would work. Hopefully by the time the new Season begins Jesus should have managed to gain the same level of fitness and attacking threat that he showed at the start of last Season .The first part of the Season would allow Balogun to get a fair amount of playing time until Toney became available . Then Arteta would have plenty of options as we get into the most important part of the Season.

    1. Easier said than done. It will be far easier to sell Balogun than Eddie. Eddie’s wages block a sale.

  13. So much is being made from Balogun’s stats in France, Lacazette scored more goals than him and honestly played better than him. Personally, il say sell both him and Nketiah

    1. That’s a good point. I agree with you tbh, especially about balogun. If we keep him and he doesn’t play much next season (or worse, he plays badly), his value will drop like a stone. We should capitalise now imo.

  14. This article describes BALOGUN as, and I kid you not,”an elite striker”! The writewr seems to believe thsat twenty goals and a mer couple of asists scored in thr notable lesser standard French league make himn an elite playr I contend that is ludicrous HYPE and simply untrue.

    He may well become in time a proven top level striker- or ,he may not too.

    But to claim him, right now l as at elite level,is beyond merely silly and in fact is ludicrous and nonsensical.

  15. The sensible answer is no, they absolutely shouldn’t sell him. But a lot of that depends on the player’s willingness to be a team guy and not demand to start and also Arteta’s willingness to be more adaptive and flexible in his approach. I don’t see either of those things as particularly likely, so we can expect to see Balogun leave. The only way Jesus gets pushed out of the main striker role is if we sign Vlahovic or someone of that calibre.

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