Thursday, June 1, 2023

Arsenal face Balogun conundrum as suitors circle

As the current campaign draws to a close, speculation about how Mikel Arteta might reshape his Arsenal squad is mounting. In the last few days alone, there have been links with Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch, Wolfsburg’s Ridle Baku and Brazilian teenager Vitor Roque, who currently plays for Club Athletico Paranaense.

There have also been plenty of rumours about the future of Folarin Balogun. Having hit 18 goals in Ligue 1, the academy graduate has earned himself a number of suitors, both at international level, where he’s wavering on his England allegiance, and amongst top clubs in Europe.

Having worked hard in 2021 to tie the player down to a four-year contract, this summer the Gunners have to decide whether to integrate the 21-year-old into the first team or look to cash in.

It feels like a black-and-white decision with any prevaricating likely to prove costly in one way or another.

Had Balogun been as impressive at Middlesbrough on loan as he has been at Stade de Reims since August, Arsenal would no doubt have integrated him into the first team last summer. A year on and the picture is different. Arsenal have turned a corner on the firepower front and are no longer struggling for goals.

The attack can call on Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and January signing Leandro Trossard. Between them, they’ve scored 45 goals and made 29 assists.

Is there room for another striker? Would we have to sell someone to accommodate Balogun? Can we offer enough game time to satisfy a youngster who is keen to establish himself at the top? Is his profile too similar to the options already at our disposal?

These are the questions Arteta and Edu have to ask themselves and ones Balogun himself will want answers to.

According to The Athletic, the player has already set out his stall by opposing a third loan move and currently has no plans to sign a new deal.

It’s a real conundrum, albeit a good(ish) one, complicated by interested parties testing the water with his agent.

AC Milan and Inter Milan are sniffing around, Foot Mercato claim Lille and Monaco are potential destinations in France and Sky Sports Germany believes RB Leipzig are serious contenders.

There’s talk of an asking price in excess of €40 million. That figure would break Arsenal’s record price for a sale, so it’s not to be sniffed at. At the same time, having been dragged into a bidding war in January for Mkyhailo Mudryk, we’re well aware that with the right conditions, more money could be out there.

A sell-on clause is another means of topping up a base price if we expect him to have a successful career. Perhaps a buy-back option could be inserted?

It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Clearly, it’s not something we’re going to try and tackle before the current campaign is over so for the next few weeks the rumours will continue to circle.

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Johnny 4 Hats

The weird thing about Flo (and this might just be me) is that he doesn’t feel like a ‘one-of-our-own’ homegrown, Hale End lad. And that’s mental. He started playing for Arsenal at 8. He is as much Hale End as Nketiah, Saka, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe.  Maybe I’ve just always sensed a distance in him. He doesn’t speak about Arsenal like those boys do. I’ve never heard him talk about the unbelievable honour of wearing the shirt or that his first goal was a dream come true. I just don’t get that gooner passion from him.  And I… Read more »

Carll

I don’t tell my wife how much I love her everyday, but I still do! The lad is Hale end through and through!

TommyGun

If he was Hale end through and through then I do t think he would be telling everyone that he wants to be first choice somewhere, he would come back and earn that spot. I agree with Johnny on this.

Jasonissimo

He can’t make the club love him back. Careers are short. It’s understandable that he is looking for minutes. That said, I think this Arsenal squad has room for him. So it is up to the player and manager to see if their goals are aligned. Trossard played as a False 9 in a pinch, but he isn’t a forward, just a talented footballer. He’s an outside forward or attacking midfielder, and that’s where he will continue to provide depth next season. Our CF options are currently G. Jesus and Eddie–only those two guys. Next season is too long to… Read more »

Arun

To be fair to him, he could have joined another club before his last contract extension. I remember there was quite a clamor for him back then, but he decided to stay with us. So can’t accuse the lad for not being loyal. I think he’s just being mature and practical here. He was asked to prove his worth this year and he more than did that. Now it’s up to the club and player to decide on next steps. And if he decides he needs more game time and club can’t offer that to him, fair enough. With two… Read more »

Qwaliteee

What’s more than likely is that the lad has merely stated that he is aiming high and wants to play in the Arsenal first team as the first choice. Suddenly, the media turn his ‘ambition’ into a ‘demand’ – because they’re a bunch of jealous cunts who will write and publish any old shit to try and destabilise the club. Following our Premiership and FA Cup Double in 2002, the press spent the entire summer misquoting Patrick Vieira, saying that he wanted to leave Arsenal – it was, as usual, utter crap. What we have with Flo Balogun is the… Read more »

bob

I’m not convinced he will leave if not first choice by default. Mikel is a bit of a magician when he talks to players, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he can convince him that the first choice position is his, if he can wrestle it off Jesus and Eddie. Then it’s down to how much Flo actually backs himself – if you want to be a striker at the top of the Premier league, for the Arsenal , you have to take the position by sheer force of will and goals. And it’s not impossible, Eddie is good but… Read more »

UzesGooner

We’ll sell, but we need to be Brighton when we sell….

So, ask for £60m to get £50m.

Not 40m euros…..

We can’t keep everyone…..maybe have a buy back clause….

Qwaliteee

Mate, he doesn’t feel like one of our own yet because he’s on loan.

Wait until he scores the winner at the Toilet Bowl next season – then tell me how you feel… 😉👍🍺

VAgooner

Wouldn’t that be the shit…

Ozzie

Is it just me, or does he like Robbie Earle??

Dazza84

The best solution to my mind would be to sell on Eddie. While he has proven himself to be PL quality, he is now 3rd choice 9 after Jesus/Trossard. His price is as high as it is likely to get so now would be the time to sell.

Rnab08

Flo said he won’t accept being a backup and won’t sign an extension. Things can change but doesn’t look like we’ll have much choice.

Qwaliteee

Paper talk.

When Arteta has sat him down and explained how he’ll be vital to our campaign, it will be fine.

Amazing how City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Utd are all permitted by the media to have large squads. Any more than than three forwards at Arsenal, however, is not permitted. We somehow can’t accommodate a large squad and have to sell – in spite of the return of Champions League football. Load of bollocks.

Rnab08

1. Ornstein is more reliable than usual paper talk.
2. Big clubs lose young talent from time to time in similar scenarios. It happens, the trick is if it happens to not let them leave for Gnabry money.
3. Genuinely hope you’re right because I’d love for him to stay. If you’re not, though, the club has to be practical.

Oddo

This is so true. Media hate us. We live in their heads.

Already rumours of how we’re selling Tierney, Flo. Last summer we were selling Saka and Marti. And as you say, back in the day you couldn’t move for stories linking Henry, Viera, Cesc with moves week in week out.

Qwaliteee

We don’t need to sell any of them.

We are going to need a big squad next season.

Too many still thinking with their Europa heads on.

Rnab08

Where did I say I would want him sold? I’d love to see Flo play for us next season. Ornstein reported Balogun won’t accept being second choice next season and won’t sign a contract extension. What do you expect the club to do in that situation?

Qwaliteee

I expect Mikel Arteta to

  1. Keep him
  2. Tell him what an exciting season we are going to have next year.
  3. Tell him he is going to be a big part of that.
  4. Tell him that he will need to prove himself in the Premiership.
  5. Start him in the Champions League group games, League Cup and FA Cup
  6. Start Jesus in the Premiership games and bring Flo and Eddie off the bench.
Tobi6footplus

You can always sell and then buy someone who not only fits in the squad better but who’s not making demands to be in the first team week in week out.Personally I’ll sell him if he’s not willing to fight for his place then I’ll get a right winger who also has the ability to play through the middle (either as a traditional 9 or false 9) like Trossard.

Rnab08

Def agree. I love the player, and respect for shooting his shot while his stock is high I guess, but this combined with his national team selection drama has made me cool on him a bit for sure. He’s only 21; this isn’t his last chance by any means so I don’t quite understand why he’s pushing so hard.

If Flo was willing to rotate and be part of the group yeah I think I’d prefer to sell Eddie even though I like him a lot. But sounds like he’s not willing to do that.

Alberto Balsam Mendez Rodriguez

What on earth does his national team selection have to do with anything?

Rnab08

He recognizes his stock is high right now and is looking for the best fit for his career on both the club and international level. For example, rather than play for Englands u21’s during the international break he flew to Orlando and held talks with the USMNT. What’s so hard to understand about that?

Qwaliteee

Yeah.

Readily available World class strikers who also happen to be Hale End lads and won’t attract the likes of Chelsea, City, Utd, Newcastle and PSG, grow on trees.

I was forgetting…. 🙄

Fatgooner

Totally agree.

Eddie should go and Balogun must be given a squad number for next season. We must not let Balogun slip away: this guy could be the next Harry Kane.

C.B.

ie never wins a trophy???

Anon

Harry ‘never wins a trophy’ Kane

Emi Rates

Sir Harold of Openmouth.

Fatgooner

Switch off the tribalism please!!!

Kane is one of the best strikers in the world.

Qwaliteee

If he was that good he would have stuck that penalty away for England.

But he didn’t, which in my book makes him a useless window licking cunt.

Fatgooner

Ok, I get it: Kane is a Spurs player so, automatically, he’s a cunt. But he is still a very good striker. If he did a Sol Campbell we’d all be licking our lips – and pissing ourselves laughing.

C.B.

He did a Sol Campbell, search online, he was in his Arsenal shirt celebrating the Invincibles etc etc.

GlennHelderuntilsheslept

50million to PSG. HERE WE GO

Badaab

500 million if we’re selling to that lot, they can afford it

Qwaliteee

I’d want more than that, a lot more.

PSG? They – and anyone else for that matter – can start whistling to the tune of £80m – £90m for starters.

C.B.

Get rid. If he won’t join in the immense team spirit we have now, then he has to go.

I’d prefer him to stay and fight his way to being our number 1 striker but if he isn’t going to knuckle down and try to achieve this by improving his game, he has to go. A shame for an Arsenal lad, but his choice how he behaves in the end. If he went to City or another top team he’d have a similar fight, and this would improve him as a player.

It’s non-negotiable…

C.B.

Or turning it around, if I grew up at a club I’d want to do all I could to play for it, improve and support it.

If he doesn’t want to do that, he should go as he’s not a true Arsenal boy.

Fabulous

How can your turn around stance actually be worse than the original.

Qwaliteee

”Get rid” What a load of bollocks.

You’re buying what disruptive shite the media are putting out.

Hasn’t it occurred to you that Arteta will sit him down during the summer and discuss how he’ll be a big part of next season?

Why this knee jerk haste to sell a potential world class striker – and a Hale End lad to boot – is beyond me. Crazy.

yen

“The attack can call on Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and January signing Leandro Trossard. Between them, they’ve scored 45 goals.”

45 is a number of goals scored by Haaland this season – a record for goals by a PL player in all competitions.

Simply pointing out a stat without any narrative. But the guy is a freak of nature for sure!

ChickPEA

Yes but in the end, City have just scored 3 more goals in the league than Arsenal.

Haaland does score an awful lot, but he takes these goals from the rest of his team.

chepetin

Sure, it’s a stat, but it’s apples and pears. Our five have scored 45, in the league. Haaland has scored 45 total, but only 30 in the league. You’ve compared 45 to 45, and you should be comparing 45 to 30.

That said, City have scored 75 in the league; we’ve scored 72, a negligible difference of 3. I’d rather have 5 guys who end up with 15 goals each than one guy scores half our goals. For a defense, it’s got to be tougher to deal with five potential goal scorers buzzing around the box.

Qwaliteee

Totally agree. Ignore the downvotes. Too many on here with a small club mentality. We’ve had both Jesus and Eddie out this season and it’s been a minor miracle that Saka has remained fit, given how much he is routinely kicked up in the air. We’ve done brilliantly in the Premiership, but struggled in Europe and the domestic cups. It should therefore be crystal clear to anyone with half a brain that we are going to need extra firepower next season in four competitions. You quite rightly mention Haaland and Utd, Newcastle and Chelsea will all spend big again. And… Read more »

Rnab08

What you keep ignoring is the player’s stance. Ornstein is reporting that Flo is essentially saying make me first choice or sell me because I’m not extending my contract, I’m not going on loan and I won’t settle for being a rotation option. Arteta can maybe convince him to stay and fight for his place, not ruling that out, but if he can’t the club have to take the money and that’s not a small-club mentality. City had to take what they could get for Sancho when he pushed for a move; Cancelo just forced his way out even though… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Mate, the player’s ‘stance’ is probably a load of fabricated bollocks to sell newspapers and get hits and clicks.

Forget it!!

Wait until Arteta has spoken to him at the end of the season – and they’ve discussed what the manager has in mind.

Fuck the media! 😉

Qwaliteee

I’m not going to listen to what David Ornstein says about this in April.

I AM going to listen to what Mikel Arteta says about it in August.

I suggest you do likewise. 👍😉

Rnab08

Fair enough, but this entire article is based off his reporting, so ya know…you’re kind of paying attention to it one way or another. 😁

yen

Nothing to agree with over here though. No opinions stated in my original comment – „simply pointing out a stat without any narrative.”

My mistake was that I assumed I’m comparing the same number (of goals scored in all competitions). The comment wasn’t meant to belittle our players, more of a “we already think our players are amazing, now look at this monster.”

The comparison didn’t work though, my bad.

Tomaury Bischfeld

Feel he has a higher ceiling than Eddie

Public Elneny Number One

If Anthony and Mudrhyk are in the 100 million range Flo should easily be 150 – 200 million range.

Anon

Depends who is buying and what they are willing to pay. Even for clubs abroad 40m euros seems a piss-take for a 21 year old 20 goal a season striker.

If Chelsea or Man U want him expect we can double it

Anon

I have to add I don’t think Anthony or Mudryk are worth anything like 100m.

Emi Rates

Balogun is a proven goal scorer from a half decent league. Unlike
Mikhailo No Goals Mudryk.

Crash Fistfight

I think he’d have to do more than have one good season to be considered ‘proven’. He didn’t exactly set the world alight at Middlesbrough.

Emi Rates

When I say proven I mean in the French league, not the PL, which although not an absolute confirmation is still more of an indicator than the Ukrainian league.

Alberto Balsam Mendez Rodriguez

The issue with Balogun, is the same one as Nketiah, = the agent,
I don’t think we can keep both as the agent has no patience and tries to play hardball on each and every contract.

karl g

Big clubs sell on players they don’t use while their stock is high. How many games would Flo play next season with Jesus and Nketiah ahead. In the meantime, his value will plummet as the contract expires.

Crash Fistfight

This.

Not sure why some people think ‘big club mentality’ is to hold on to a 21-year-old with one good season under his belt so he can be a half-decent back-up.

‘Big club mentality’ is to sell him now when his price is high and put the money towards buying someone who can compete with Gabriel Jesus.

Modha

I know it is easier said than done, but there must be a way to keep Balo and give him minutes (regularly) next season. I’d hate for him to be sold and us never getting a chance to see him. Seeing other Hale Enders thrive, and Balogun himself in France, I’d like to see him lead the line for us.

Qwaliteee

Mate, don’t worry. We CAN give him minutes. Think about our workload next season. 😉👍

ant

Sell for 40+ with a buy back option.

Qwaliteee

😂

Qwaliteee

It would be absolute madness to even think about selling this kid – unless the buying club wants to cough up anything skywards of £80m. That’s how good this kid is going to be. But at the moment, he hasn’t played any Premier League football, so for now he can be first choice – in the League Cup, FA Cup and Champions League group games. For the Premiership, I would start Jesus next season and bring Eddie and Balogun off the bench as and when required. Great talent and clearly going to be a worldie – so we keep him… Read more »

Rnab08

What if he holds firm and refuses to be a rotation option?

Qwaliteee

Do you honestly believe it’s going to get as bad as that?

Jeez, some of you lot are willing to believe any old shit that the media peddle.

As I’ve said elsewhere, forget all the bollocks being spouted on Sky, TslkShit and the tabloids – what’s important is the conversation the player has with Arteta.

I’m sure that once the manager has assured the player of his intentions for him next season, all will be well.

Stop reading and listening to the anti Arsenal drivel outside of the Emirates.

SLC Gooner

I think at this point I’d prefer Flo to Eddie. Flo seems a little better technically and a little more able to run in behind. And with CL back next year, we’ll have plenty of important matches for either to start in.
But if he’s dead set on being the starter in the league, it’s pretty hard to see him displacing Jesus. If that’s the case, then getting a good sale with sell on and buy back clauses might indeed be the best option.

karl g

With just 2 years left on his deal, now is the time to sell if we don’t plan on using Balogun in the 1st team.

The club did well with the sale of Joe Willock after a similarly successful loan deal. There is no guarantee the goals will keep coming in a more competitive league and I just recall how difficult he found that first game at Brentford last year.

Mike Lowry

Cash in and make a tasty bid for Ivan Tony!

Qwaliteee

😂

Man Manny

For those who watched the CL games yesterday, it gives us a picture of what the later stages of a competition we will definitely be playing in next season is all about. Our squad building should be done with those level of games in mind, not forgetting the bread and butter of the EPL. Our first 11 right now ranks among the best in Europe; but beyond that, there are huge gaps to fill. For me, we need to do better than Nketiah and Balogun going forward. I would sell them both and get one more of the GJ class… Read more »

Qwaliteee

“Get someone better in.”

Yeah right, after Chelsea and Co have outbid us.

Wake Up.

Badaab

If we’re going to move flo on, we should be inserting a first refusal clause as well as a sell on, considering what has happened with other players (ie gnabry)

StefanPsy

We’ve got a Serge Ganbry-esque situation over here. I just hope we don’t end up disapointed we’ve sold a great talent for too little money

Leon

His opportunities would be extremely limited with the talent ahead of him – if someone came in with £30 million plus, I would take it and invest the money in Declan Rice.
And Hale End has no relevance when it comes to loyalty – just ask Ashley Cole.

Qwaliteee

Bollocks to Ashley Cole.

Teryima Adi

We don’t have to sell Balogun. Integrate him into the first team.

Qwaliteee

Exactly. The calls for him to be sold (prior to the close season when he will be able to sit down and discuss his future with Arteta) are ridiculously naive. As a football club, you live and die for raw talent like Balogun to come along – the guy is potentially a world class striker FFS. Yet a few premature and officially unsubstantiated reports of player unrest (he was probably merely stating his ambitions – not putting in unreasonable demands, they are two entirely different things) and everyone’s showing him the door. Crass stupidity. We have a player on our… Read more »

Aleksandar

If we are buying a 21 year old striker, who is among the top scorers in one of the top 5 leagues in Europe, we’ll surely be paying in the excess of 70 mil, so why sell him for 40 mil. Anyway, I would like him to succeed at Arsenal.

PTAFC

Keep him, give him a chance and sell Eddie who will never be a top striker as he misses far too many chances, yes he scored a couple after Jesus injury but not good enough at this level.

Qwaliteee

“Never be a top striker”

He seemed to do ok against Manchester United as I recall and has weighed in with some pretty important goals in the absence of Jesus to keep our title challenge afloat.

Entitled to your opinion of course, but honestly, some of you really do need calling out when you post ignorant tripe.

wrightstuff8

So bored of this chat.
Mikel, whatever you decide, I’m sure it’s the right decision

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