Losing Folarin Balogun Would Be a Blow to Arsenal

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Folarin Balogun
BARNET, ENGLAND - JULY 24: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal looks on during the Pre-Season Friendly match between Barnet and Arsenal at The Hive on July 24, 2019 in Barnet, England. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

Arsenal are set to lose promising young striker Folarin Balogun after contract talks seemed to have hit a dead end.

It would be a blow to the club, having seen the player progress through the academy. Balogun has not featured in manager Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad yet and is set to look elsewhere for regular senior football.

As previously reported by The Athletic, the youngster is set to leave at the end of his contract.

Exciting Youngster Folarin Balogun Set to Leave Arsenal

Failed to Agree Terms

Exciting pair Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have recently committed their futures to Arsenal. This is clearly great news for supporters of the club. Yet there is still some disquiet about the young talent which is being allowed to leave. Folarin Balogun is an exciting prospect, a striker who has scored 50 goals in 70 appearances at U18 and U23 level. Yet he and the club have been unable to agree terms on extending a contract which runs out in June 2021.

Arsenal recognise Balogun’s potential, but seem prepared to sell the 19-year-old forward this year before he becomes a free agent. Arsenal turned down a £5 million offer for Balogun in January from Brentford. They still had hopes and plans for the youngster at this stage. However, it seems they can not guarantee the amount of first-team inclusion Balogun seeks. He has plenty of competition ahead in the pecking order at present, so he may feel he will better further his career by playing regular first team football elsewhere.

Performance-Related Contracts

There may be another element to the departure too. Arsenal are reportedly keen on young players signing performance-related contracts. They feel this provides a potentially lucrative and motivating contract. However, if your path to the first-team looks blocked for the foreseeable future you may believe your best option is elsewhere. The situation looks a carbon copy of how another young talent Xavier Amaechi left Arsenal in 2019. The young winger signed a four year deal with Hamburg.

Amaechi was reportedly annoyed when manager Unai Emery omitted him from the Europa League final squad against Chelsea. Arsenal let Amaechi go for a fee of £2.25 million, with the chance of more money for the club from a performance related bonus clause. It is the same kind of deal they may look for if they let the 19-year-old leave. However, Amaechi is a case of the grass is not always greener on the other side. The young winger has so far only featured a couple of times for Hamburg from the bench.

Nothing Replaces Playing First-Team Football

The likes of Jadon Sancho have opened the eyes of younger players to the potential of moving away from a big club to kick-start a career. It is easy to say stay and fight for your place, but nothing replaces playing first team football. Another option may have been to go out on loan as a further young striking prospect at Arsenal did. Tyreece John-Jules was loaned to Lincoln City of League One this year, but unfortunately saw his season end prematurely due to injury.

No club wants to lose young talent they have invested in heavily and seen rise through their academy. More managers are finally involving young domestic talent. Yet the chance of progress into the first-team at the top English clubs must still seem limited. Arsenal fans will be acutely aware of how former gunner Serge Gnabry has flourished at Bayern Munich. However, some clubs and their style of play just suit some players better. In contract talks, there will be fine margins between the desire to keep young talent and the capacity to guarantee the football they crave.

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