Arsenal Forward set to leave Arsenal on loan this January.
Arsenal Forward set to leave Arsenal on loan this January
Per Mertesacker, the Arsenal academy manager, has backed Folarin Balogun to make the step up to Mikel Arteta’s first-team, but believes the forward will be loaned out in January.
Balogun is regarded as one of Arsenal’s most promising young players in recent years, and he demonstrated his worth in the Europa League last season, scoring two goals and providing an assist in five appearances.
In April, the 20-year-old put an end to rumors that he was on his way out of the Emirates after committing his future to his boyhood club for another four years.
Arteta then gave Balogun his full Premier League debut against Brentford in April, a clear vote of confidence from the Arsenal manager.
Balogun, on the other hand, has been limited to just two substitute appearances in the league and Carabao Cup against Chelsea and AFC Wimbledon, respectively, and the attacker has grown frustrated by a lack of opportunities.
According to recent reports, Arsenal is willing to loan both Eddie Nketiah and Balogun out this winter in order for them to get more playing time.
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder is a fan of Balogun, and Mertesacker said it was ‘likely’ that the England Under-21 would leave on a temporary basis at the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust Christmas Event.
When asked which young player fans should keep an eye on, Mertesacker said, ‘I think the closest, at the moment, to making that step is Flo Balogun.’
‘He’s been moved into the first-team locker room.’
‘He still plays Under-23 football and will most likely go on loan in January because you need extra exposure to get to the next level, so he needs to make that transition,’ says the manager.
Arsenal made a statement of intent by spending more than £140 million on new players last summer, bringing in Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Martin Odegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, and Tomiyasu.
Mertesacker, on the other hand, believes that this business model is ‘unsustainable,’ and that the club will be able to produce more homegrown talent in the future, following the success of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka.
‘It’s impossible to foresee [who will take the next step forward].’ Emile and Bukayo, I believe, got their chances and performed admirably,’ added the ex-Arsenal and Germany defender.
‘We won against Chelsea and then a few of games, so these are the opportunities you must seize.’
‘However, which player is capable of and has prepared himself for that eventuality?’ To perform well enough for the manager to say, “Listen, he’s ready and he can make the step up, he’s in the first team, we don’t need to buy a player for 30 or 40 million dollars,” which is unsustainable.
Last summer, Edu and Mikel accomplished a lot, but that is not sustainable for us as a football club.
‘We’re not going to do that on a regular basis, so we need to make sure there’s a constant flow of top players coming out of the academy so they don’t have to go to the market.’
‘We put in a lot of effort, but it’s not sustainable in the long run.’