Why Folarin Balogun would be a good long-term investment for Southampton
The 19-year-old has also attracted interest from English clubs Brighton and Brentford while German Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart are also in the race to sign the talented hitman. (h/t Football London)
As per the report, Arsenal are holding out for a fee of around £8million for Balogun, who is out of contract in North London next summer and has informed the club that he doesn’t want to extend his stay.
Born in New York, Folarin Balogun moved to England with his family at the age of two and joined Arsenal’s youth system when he was just 10 years old. He caught the eye with his rapid progress through the ranks, featuring in the U-18 Premier League for the first time during the 2016-17 season.
Balogun boasts an eye-watering record of 34 goals in 33 U-18 Premier League games for the Gunners. He featured sporadically for the U-23 side in the Premier League 2 during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns but made a big impact at that level last term, bagging 10 goals and 4 assists in just 15 appearances.
The 19-year-old, who has represented both England and the United States across various youth age-group levels, is yet to make his senior professional debut for Arsenal.
Southampton could benefit from Balogun’s potential
Southampton are currently well-stocked in the forward department, with Che Adams, Shane Long, and Michael Obafemi providing cover and competition for star man Danny Ings.
Ings shouldered the bulk of the Saints’ goalscoring workload in the Premier League last term with his 22-goal haul, but it is worth mentioning over here that the likes of Long and Adams just didn’t do enough. The duo shared only 6 goals between them, despite both strikers playing well over 1000 minutes in the league.
Young Irishman Obafemi showed strong signs of promise last season but he has been linked with a move away from St. Mary’s. Regardless of his future, Southampton need to replace Long, who is well past his prime at 33, whilst question marks continue to linger over Adams’ top-flight credentials.
To that end, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Southampton to spice up competition for places up top with the acquisition of another talented youngster like Folarin Balogun, who boasts a tremendous track record for Arsenal at the youth level.
The 19-year-old has plundered an astonishing 50 goals and 12 assists in 70 appearances for the Gunners at U-18 and U-23 levels combined. This is a testament to his massive potential as a striker.
Balogun might not be capable of making an instant impact in the Premier League, given his lack of experience at the senior level. However, Southampton should view him more as a good long-term investment and make a genuine attempt to fast-track his development, either with first-team minutes or a loan spell at a lower-division club.
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Southampton have signed quality young talents like Moussa Djenepo and Mohammed Salisu following the appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl. They have also promoted starlets like Yann Valery, Jake Vokins and William Smallbone from within their own academy ranks.
Folarin Balogun has the potential to evolve into a future star and Southampton making a move to sign the Arsenal sensation could pay off handsomely for their long-term plans moving forward.