Sunday, April 21, 2024

Balogun pleased Arteta is watching, hints at change in national allegiance

Folarin Balogun continues to make waves in France, ending a three-game scoring drought to net in consecutive matches for Stade de Reims against Monaco and Marseille.

His tally in Ligue 1 now stands at 17, two behind the division’s top scorers Jonathan David and Kylian Mbappe; an incredible return for a player who originally targeted 10 goals and still has 10 matches left to play.

Watching from afar, manager Mikel Arteta has been impressed, saying last month that the 21-year-old had “something special” and praising his ambition, commitment and bravery.

“It’s really positive that he could say these things,” Balogun told Sky Sports.

“I’m sure, we’ll speak at the end of the season and we’ll have a lot of things to discuss. It’s nice that he’s watching and paying attention to what’s going on.”

Balogun is clearly ambitious and when Gareth Southgate recently announced his squad for upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers, he cryptically posted on Instagram “In life Go where your [sic] appreciated”.

Eligible to play for the USA and Nigeria, it sounded like a shot across the bows of the England manager for overlooking him.

The striker was subsequently selected by the England under-21s but pulled out with an injury. He’s continued to hint that a change of nationality isn’t out of the question.

“My international future is not decided yet in terms of who I play for,” he said.

“Of course, I want to play international football at the highest level, the World Cup, and I want to compete at the highest level and put myself in positions where I’m performing in front of millions of people.”

As for his Arsenal future, that too is up for debate. When he finishes his time in France, he’ll return to a club that has strengthened its attack in his absence through the acquisition of Leandro Trossard. With Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah also vying for places up front, there will be stiff competition for regular game time.

Judging by Balogun’s comments above – and the fact he’s happily inviting media interviews – he won’t want to stand still. “There are discussions that need to take place and it’s not a decision that will only be with me,” he said.

“The club will let me know their point of view and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement.”

Rumours have already circled of a big money move – AC Milan are said to be interested – which may suit all parties if he can’t be suitably integrated at London Colney. He last signed a contract extension in August 2022 and is under contract at Emirates Stadium until 2025.

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Chrispy

Would love to see him get his chance in the first team and I like his thinking in getting as far away from Southgate’s mess as possible.

Kris

Alas, I don’t think that really is his thinking. Seems to me that he’s got representatives in his ear from Nigeria and USA telling him how wanted he is and not a word from the England manager. While that’s obviously poor on Southgate’s part, and obviously natural on the part of Nigeria and USA, he’d be best advised to take his time. He’s 21 and he’s talking about a world cup that’s 3 and a bit years away. No need to rush things while he’s on such an upwards trajectory.

Kiwamya

He should hang around for an England call up.

There isn’t a lot of depth behind a certain aging ex-Arsenal forward, he could make that slot his own.

ChickPEA

I don’t know about that. Rashford, Toney, even Nketiah so far, are ahead of him. It would be a risky move.

Qwaliteee

Mate, he’ll be wiping the floor with both Rashford and Toney this time next year.

That’s why it’s somewhat important that he stays with Arsenal. 😉

Heavenly Chapecoense

“..even Nketiah…”, please.

C.B.

I can’t see the USA or Nigeria doing much at the World Cup etc, based on history, unless something changes and they improve a lot.

So England is the obvious choice for someone ambitious to win major trophies.

And hopefully Arsenal over the next years with their young squad.

Anon

Probably has as much chance of winning the WC with USA as England tbh :p

Qwaliteee

The trouble is, Saka, ESR, Ramsdale, White, Nketiah and Patino aren’t American.

The US have some great players, but are they going to be a match for the aforementioned lads in 2026? I beg to differ.😉

KENNYMAN

If it were to be by stars Belgium would have been in the last three world cup finals and maybe won few

Charles Charlie Charles

So star players have no influence on who wins the World Cup? Q’s right, some of you tie yourselves up in knots in your eagerness to dispute everything he says. Hilarious.

Orion

And when England has played the US at the world cup, how has that played out, “based on history”?

Anon

you could have left out the US part

Qwaliteee

Most World Cups have.

Charles Charlie Charles

Touche.

Qwaliteee

What do you call an American past the round of 16 in a World Cup?

Ref.

Qwaliteee

Does it better England in 1966? No.

So. Does it really matter?
No.

Qwaliteee

Erm, the US went out in the round of 16, whilst England made the Quarter Finals….?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Nigeria and USA have each won more major trophies than England this century.

C.B.

Check out the history, USA have either not qualified, got knocked out in the group stage or the round of 16. They have done well in the CONCACAF but look at the opposition there…

England were in the semi-final or quarter-final the last two WC tournaments. As I said, things may change and the USA may became a world force.

Badaab

The US has already qualified for thr next world cup. Has engerland?

Daveo

Aww… cute. All those quarter finals, and semi finals must feel nice. Bit like a Sp*rs trophy…hmm there seems to be a link here.

Crash Fistfight

Not really. It’s a bit like saying you’d rather play for Celtic than Newcastle, because Celtic are more likely to win the SPL than Newcastle are to win the PL.

Daveo

Sounds like excuses to me…

Qwaliteee

But not the World Cup.

In any century.

That’s the big one pal. The rest are peripheral.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I was responding to a comment that said “England is the obvious choice for someone ambitious to win major trophies.”

Which is incorrect, as the evidence shows Nigeria and USA have both won a major trophy in the last 10 years.

This whole debate has become a sorry mess to be honest. I suppose it beats chatting about Ozil’s and Adebayor’s retirements.

C.B.

The major trophies being?

And how does the oppo compare to the Euros and the World Cuo?

Qwaliteee

Again, look at all the downvotes!!

😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

Qwaliteee

Don’t often agree with you, but this is spot on. 👍🍺

EmileSmithWhoa

To ignore the USA is to ignore mathematics and economics. We, the USA have one of the largest pools of citizens/potential players in the world. We are embracing football as a nation and now developing ever growing numbers of world class players. We have a continuing history of competing in world sports at the highest levels as seen in the Olympics. We may be late to this amazing sport but our future is bright. Ignore us at your peril.

Qwaliteee

That’s not all you’ve been late for. 😜

Charles Charlie Charles

Brilliant!

EmileSmithWhoa

Balogun is exactly the type of player (s) who will alter this flawed view towards competition at the highest levels

Rob

I can’t see the USA or Nigeria doing much at the World Cup etc, based on history, unless something changes and they improve a lot.

So, you haven’t actually watched USA play in the last WC but making this judgment? It’s a young team that is built for next WC that is a striker away. And, next WC happens to be in N. America although the matches will mostly be in US, which pretty much guarantees an entry into round of 16. It seems to me Balogun’s and Arsenal’s interest would be best served in Team USA.

Dublin gunner

He’s not going to win the world cup with either but if I was him I’d choose US as he wud be a star and wud make a lot more money through sponsors and advertising.

mporter7625

He would lead the line for the US. Only one team wins the WC. Englands window has closed I believe for the current group. US has a young Golden Generation. I do not think we will win it but he will be playing without many talented players who are similar ages.

mporter7625

Should be with players of a similar age

Anders Limpar

Southgate will remain in the job until 2043. Steadfastly picking the middle aged mouth breather, maguire dier, henderson et al, regardless of their performances on the over 45s exhibition circuit and Soccer Aid. Flo doesn’t stand a chance!

Qwaliteee

Sorry to disappoint but Southgate is digging his own grave – right now as we speak.

Qwaliteee

Look at all the downvotes!!

😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

Qwaliteee

Well said. 😊👍🍺 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Danny

He should play for the country that he feels most connected to. Simple.

Ebo

He might very well feel equally connected to two or more countries (speaking as a dual citizen myself). In that case he should play where he thinks he’ll enjoy himself the most. As long as Southgate is there I doubt that’ll be England.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

France!

Qwaliteee

Nah.

Giroud will still be hobbling out of the tunnel and turning all the old French grannies on in 2050.

It Is What It Is

He should work where he’d be happiest for the next 10-15 years. Players, camp, marketing potential etc

Cygan’sbaldspot

What is the point of international football if you can just choose who you play for?

What is the point of international football…

Money for FIFA.

Dada

Zaha might have a better perspective.

Qwaliteee

The day that useless whinging waster stops being linked with this club won’t be a day too soon.

Parteylikeits2001

Southgate hasn’t got the bottle to throw exciting youth in the mix. He wants players on form apparently, then chooses Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips. Hoping Balo gets his chance with England but wouldn’t be surprised if we lose him and we look back at where it went wrong for Balo and England aka Southgate.

Qwaliteee

Southgate is on the way out.

He’s already making large tactical blunders like his refusal to bin idiots like Maguire and Dier.

Leaving out Ben White is another – although it’ll suit Arsenal just fine at the moment.

Kane is yesterday’s news; only a matter of time before Eddie and Balogun will get their opportunities, although that may require a change of manager first – Southgate is a busted flush.

AppelsenPere

I’d love him to stay at Arsenal but selling could also be a good bit of income.

Anon

He’s unlikely to be first choice any time soon. We signed Jesus for that.
Could end up world class though.

C.B.

If he was a young player we didn’t know from young, I’m sure we would be weighing up whether to sign him.

Qwaliteee

Well said.

If he wasn’t ours already, he’d be on Arteta’s radar.

And Chelsea, City, United, Newcastle, the silly little Spuds and PSG.

Heavenly Chapecoense

We’re not good at developing CF at our academy. For once that we managed to get one, you’re suggesting that we sell.

Scotty Does Know

A season fighting it out with Eddie for second fiddle wouldn’t hurt him. I have a feeling he’d come out on top, then it’d be down to him to challenge Jesus for top dog. Jesus has been great, but he’s definitely not irreplaceable.

Qwaliteee

I reckon Balogun will be pushing Jesus for the top dog position by the end of next season anyway.

Ebo

The way he’s doing now I’d be very angry if we sold him before giving him a proper chance to fight for his place. I also seriously doubt Mikel would do that, he was positively glowing when last asked about Balogun.

Momozemio

Plus the guy’s name is BaloGUN… that should count as well😅

😇🚗☀️

Which means “warlord” or “general” but the GUN suffix is pronounced “goon” with the full pronunciation being: ba la goon.
There’s a main road in Lagos called Balogun and on a recent business trip I asked a work colleague and several taxi drivers to confirm the pronunciation for me.

Jimbo1

Arsenal may well look to bring in a more prolific No 9 in the summer, with Jesus playing in a more withdrawn role or closer to the wings. He is versatile so should still get plenty of game time. Balogun could supplant Eddie but would still be second or third choice centre forward.

Jimbo1

Wow! Why so many thumbs down for stating the obvious? The team would of course be better with a more lethal centre forward. How many opportunities do Jesus and Eddie miss? The team is still scoring loads, but just imagine how good we would be with a striker like Kane or Haaland.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arteta being from the Guardiola school of thought, the most important thing for them is the system they want to play. Players qualities are required but second to the system.

Bobby

I think we’d be mad to let B go. He’s more athletic than Nketiah and has a far greater shooting range.

Lakshya

B=Bukayo, generally.
Is Balogun, Flo?

Arsenalfanthem

Would rather see us integrate him and see if he can provide more than Nketiah then decide his future. But if Milan come in with anything more than what we got for Iwobi it might be too hard to refuse for the club

Ealing

Milan will not pay that money. He could go to Napoli if they sell VO to the premier league.

Mark

Cash in during the summer whilst his stock is high. What could we get for him, £50m?

Anon

100m is the going rate for these players now isn’t it

depends how stupid the buyer is

Orion

100m is only if one of the top Premier League teams is buying. Do you really see AC Milan spending that kind of money? I don’t.

Anon

No obviously not, 50m is probably a fair price.

Qwaliteee

😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

Jeremy

Why on earth would we sell him? We have CL next season and need options. It’s not like the injury gods are historically kind to us. He’s an academy star who’s scored more goals than Messi for a team which doesn’t have 1/1000 the resources of PSG.

Qwaliteee

This.

Daveo

Thanks for the sane response. We absolutely need another forward. If Balogun wasnt ours we’d all be here saying we need to sign this young English forward tearing up the French League right now. Pay whatever it costs &sign da ting!
The beauty of it is… He is ours!

Anon

It’s what he wants as well though isn’t it. Maybe he wants to be first choice striker somewhere.

Would much rather keep him obviously.

Ebo

He keeps saying on social media he can’t wait to be back at Arsenal his true home. Surely he wouldn’t expect to play at any top club, which we’re now back to being, without having to compete for his place. And seeing how confident he is in himself I’m sure he thinks he can do better than Jesus (whether that’s true or not we’ll have to see, I wouldn’t rule it out!)

Dublin gunner

There will be plenty of games to go around next year we shouldn’t have to throw any games and fight on all fronts with a proper strong squad.

EmileSmithWhoa

We might sell him because he demands it…just like you might demand if you were him and asked to be third or fourth option when several teams will make you their first option. Team cohesive dynamics and promises made to get him to sign along with his dreams will decide this.

Charles Charlie Charles

Yeah. Like any player in his right mind would demand to leave Arteta and this current side.

John

Arsenal will do well to keep B for one year atleast when he returns. Selling him and keeping Eddie will weaken the squad I think.

Momozemio

Except if you get someone else on top. Plus Folarin seems to have higher selling than Eddie according to many

Momozemio

*higher ceiling (and selling)😅

wrightstuff8

He would do well to see Martinelli’s integration to first team super star. Unfortunately I don’t think the boy has the patients. Hopefully I’ll be proved wrong and he stays with us for many years to come.

Qwaliteee

Patience.

And yes, I think he will have it, once he’s had a cup of tea and a chat with Arteta. 😉

Daveo

Probably because he’s not a doctor

Billy bob

Keep him, play him

Mark

If he plays for the US he would be hands down their best striker option and play all he wants to, not going to be as much of an opportunity with England or Nigeria.

John

You can see why he is reluctant to commit to an England set up that selects Eric Dier ahead of Ben White. With that in mind, Balogun would naturally wonder if he’ll be overlooked in favour of a shock call up out of retirement for the legendary Hull City goal machine that is Dean Windass.

Daveo

Southgate will probably roll out Hairy Kunt until he’s 56 and have him stand in the box with his walking frame and force his wingers to cross to Hairy at all costs. I think Southgate cares more about Hairy’s personal record than England actually winning. At least that’s the way it seems watching his tactics play out.

Josh

He could walk in to the US squad and make a real impact upfront. We host the World Cup next and this would be his time to shine instead of sitting behind Kane. With rumors of TH interested in the coaching position, this is a no brainer.

Orion

Striker was the biggest weakness for the US in Qatar (aside from manager). He would be a great fit.

Qwaliteee

Kane and Southgate are both on borrowed time, as far as England are concerned.

Dublin gunner

Why is kane on borrowed time? I know he’s spurs but Harry kane is still class.

Man Manny

This might be an unpopular view here, but I’d rather sell Nketiah if it came down to selling one striker. I think Balogun is the more rounded and has a higher ceiling than Nketiah. I am not sure Nketiah can do much more than he is doing at the moment.

Public Elneny

At the very least 1 needs to go on another loan next year. We can’t have 2 early 20s players sharing minutes behind the same starter, they’ll both lose confidence, momentum and value Personally I’d try to get Balogun a PL loan next year and keep Eddie as Jesus’ understudy. Partly because Eddie is a known quantity in the PL and can cover quite well (over a period of weeks perhaps, maybe not months). And partly because if Balogun does get a starting PL role, it will likely benefit him more long term than a year behind Jesus, and he… Read more »

Dublin gunner

Yeah a lot of people under estimate Eddie but he always seems to deliver. See what arteta does and Id be 100 percent confident it will be the right call.

Public Elneny

He’s far from the perfect striker but has very clear strengths which can add a dimension to our attack that even Jesus can’t over short periods Like Lacazette he’s an excellent substitute, and can do very well starting a handful here and there. It’s just that he has to be at 100% in terms of energy and fitness to keep his edge over PL defenders, and when fatigued his relative lack of technique and strength/balance really let him down at this level – so you don’t want him leading the line over long stretches But Martinelli and Trossard have both… Read more »

Qwaliteee

I don’t know what you’re been smoking Mr Allen, but whilst I can just about tolerate your propensity to declare that Balogun may be hedging his bets in terms of his international allegiances (he’d be a fool to go anywhere other than England given that it now has Saka, Ramsdale, White, Nketiah and ESR very much as it’s future and yes I would say that because I’m English and yes Gareth silly bollocks Southgate’s days as England manager are numbered, make no mistake) I cannot for the life of me understand why you would presume that a move this summer… Read more »

Charles Charlie Charles

Well said Mister Q.

wrightstuff8

This would also be my preference

Joker

That’s the first thing you’ve ever said I agree with.

Dublin gunner

Apart from the England thing 😆

Billy The Dandy

If it came down to it, I personally think we should sell Nketiah and keep Balgoun, he’s younger so got more time to develop and could have a higher ceiling, we’ve already seen what Nketiah is capable of, but that just isn’t enough for me i’m afraid…

Qwaliteee

There’s no need to sell Nketiah, Jesus, Trossard or Balogun.

We’re going to need them all next season.

EPL, ECL + FA Cup and League Cup.

Man Manny

I’d sell one, most likely Nketiah, and add the money to fund another right-sided forward to help Saka. Jesus, Trossard and Balogun are enough to share the no. 9 role. We can see Arteta is building a team where goals can come from anywhere – most especially the front 5. It is working to the hilt: Arsenal is the only team in the 5 major leagues in Europe with 3 players in double figures and up to 14 different scorers! City has Haaland on 28? EPL goals but in total, they have scored 67, one more than us at 66… Read more »

TeeCee

AC Milan? I hope he likes mosquitos.

Alex

Someone is getting sold in the summer. Eddie or Balogun

Fatgooner

If Balogun wants to play for England then he’ll need to improve his English.

It’s: “In life you go to where you’re appreciated.” Also, it’s: “My international future is not yet decided in terms of for whom I play.”

I know he’s a footballer but… come on.

AusGunner

“ “My international future is not yet decided in terms of for whom I play.””

lol no, I’d expect better from a chatbot

A Different George

Definitey a sentence up with which I will not put.

Tapps

“Definitey”?

Dcdjin

Awesome!

Dada

Zero undertones. Whatsoever.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

😂

Emi Rates

I’m thinking of all the scholars of the English language who’ve played for England before Balogun. That’s right, there are none. Not to single anyone out but Wayne Rooney for example. Or Kane. Or Dier. Or Michael Owen. Or…

Balogun is safe.

Lordgunner

Who is the current cf for England……Harry fuckin Kate, English isn’t his forte either

Emi Rates

He still does better than Dier who’ve not managed beyond the stage of grunting. At least Kane communicates in human language.

ant

Selling him would indicate a small club mentality which we are not. We should hang on to him give him a chance next season at any capacity. As we’ve seen this season with the amount of games to play next season, we’ll need all the depth.

BillyKrystal

Arsenals YouTube channel has a good little video about him and his Reims loan. They’ve given him the nickname Balo, which comparisons to Balotelli aside, is pretty good!

EmileSmithWhoa

Can we all just look on in awe at the job our club…Arteta and Mertesacker are doing and the depth and options we possess. I could name 10 first team players and then still say.. “ but what about the job…XXXX has been doing. This elegant problem/challenge with Balogun is damn interesting especially when we compare ourselves to ManAuthoritarianCity. Does Arteta go with a more traditional dominant forward like Haaland which means less diverse goals spread around to others…OR does he stick with this model more like Liverpool operated when so dominant. What type of player is Balogun, how would/will… Read more »

EmileSmithWhoa

Nketiah and Balogun are shining examples to the world of young talented players of what happens if you join Arsenals academy system. That will be one of several significant parts of the decisions made.

Celebration Police

So you are telling that Omari Hutchinson is an example of what happens when you leave Arsenal for Chelsea

My hunch is that Nelson leaves in the summer and Balogun takes his place in the squad. To play for Mikel in a forward position you need to be somewhat ambidextrous so while Balogun is obviously a #9 at heart and will be great to have another option in that position, if Nelson leaves, there’s a space in the squad available for someone who can play on the right as understudy to Saka. Balogun can broaden his horizons and grab that spot. Agreed that he could be a nice bit of income, but do we really need the money? The… Read more »

beldar77

I still think Rice is overrated but love the rest of the post.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

I’m sure there is a secret Plan B that we’ll sign instead for 33% of a third of the price that Rice is sold for.

Gordy

Why no post about Ozil? I have very fond memories going back a long way of those players who did wonderful things. Among many I start with George Eastham, Charlie, Liam, Denis and Ozil. We have some now who are moving into that category but we need to acknowledge the ones who made us smile. My Dad’s one was Alex James.

Master Floda

Because he’s a prick. A great footballer if everything was just right. But such a snowflake whenever he had to face the slightest adversary (like a cloudy afternoon in Newcastle). While you’re obviously welcome to your fond memories of his Arsenal career, for me Özil is the symbol of our downfall in the late Wenger years.
And last but not least, he’s a buddy of Erdogan.

Qwaliteee

“Symbol of our downfall”

What, breaking a nine year trophy drought, winning three FA Cups and inspiring the team to a genuine challenge for the Premiership in 2015/16? (And the only reason Leicester City eventually won that was because we had a crap central defence and a bang average goal keeper)

And last but not least, he had the bravery to speak out against genocide.

Not bad for a ‘prick.’ 🙄

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Absolutely, Ozil was definitely one of most gifted footballers I have ever live. Brady was the first as young teenager. Charlie Nicholas followed and eventually Dennis arrived and we got really spoilt from that point onwards for a number of years. Watching Ozil and sanchez win us that final against Chelsea was something else. They were superb that day. Great memories

Master Floda

Funny, how perception works. Maybe it’s because I was a defender, but my most vivid memory of that final were Mertesacker and Holding bossing Diego Costa.
I should probably rewatch that game some time.

Bleeding Gums Murphy

Mertesacker was superb, he had only played about 60 minutes of football in months or something like that. But I was at Wembley that day and Chelsea could not handle Ozil and sanchez. It was a joy to watch.

wrightstuff8

Yea mesut was a magician. Was so gassed when he joined us back in 2014 or whenever it was.
Less said about the new contract and how he left, but he was absolute joy to watch.
I was sad to hear he’s retired.

Qwaliteee

This site became an absolute cesspit of hatred for that guy – never mind that he’d helped to the club back to winning three FA Cups after a hitherto nine season drought prior to his signing and, but for a poor defence, he would have had a Premiership title winners medal in 2015/16. High press wasn’t his game, but then neither was it Liam Brady’s, Dennis Bergkamp’s or Thierry Henry’s. And Ozil deserves to be named alongside those guys, because his skill set was off the charts. At his best he was simply unplayable – no one could get near… Read more »

Dublin gunner

Ozil was a great player no doubt but obviously didn’t care as he wud always be injured or sick when he just wasn’t bothered to play but your having a laugh comparing him to Brady,Henry and Bergkamp.

Charles Charlie Charles

Have another look at what Q has said. World class players who weren’t high press? And in terms of vision and passing ability, Ozil was every bit as good as Brady, Henry and Bergkamp. Your post perfectly illustrates the kind of brainless footballing ignorance from, sadly, a massive section of this club’s fanbase that Ozil had to endure during his time here.

Big Tom

Ozil was technically a brilliant player, but to put him in the same category as genuine Arsenal legends is extremely generous, to say the least.

Public Elneny

Seeing as Southgate is blind to players who haven’t played 20+ times for him already, probably a wise choice.

Would be frustrating being stuck behind Kane watching him pad his stats until he’s 37.

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