Why Arsenal are doing the right thing by reopening contract talks with Folarin Balogun
According to The Athletic (h/t Daily Mail), Arsenal have reopened contract talks with Folarin Balogun. The forward’s contract expires at the end of the season and it was thought that he would be sold this summer itself.
Sheffield United made enquiries but pulled out due to Arsenal’s valuation. With the player being expected to leave, Arsenal are currently trying to find a solution to keep him by reopening contract talks.
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 38 goals in 41 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 has represented both England and the United States across youth levels. He recently made his senior debut for Arsenal in the Europa League game against Dundalk and impressed everyone with his performance.
Arsenal should not let go of Balogun
Arsenal were once known to be a team to nurture talent and use them in the first-team, with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs becoming Gunners regulars at some point in time. But over time, it was somewhere lost, as players were being let go for some reason.
Serge Gnabry is enjoying the time of his life with an impressive season at Bayern Munich while Ismael Bennacer is starting regularly at AC Milan. Jeff Reine-Adelaide has become a part of Ligue 1 giants Lyon while Isaac Hayden has gone on to make over 100 appearances for Newcastle.
Folarin Balogun is very highly rated and is just 19. He has scored goals after goals for the Arsenal U18 and U23 teams. Arsenal right now need to hold onto their talent and give them more opportunities so that they do not fall into a situation where they lose talented youngsters to other clubs.
His performances for the Under-23s is reason enough for Arsenal to push hard and tie him down to a new deal. Given the pandemic situation, it is better for Arsenal and the manager to tie down players for the long run.
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Balogun has put up great displays and Arsenal need to tie down the player. In order to do so, they may have to make the player feel that he can progress at a quicker rate by being at the Emirates than going elsewhere. He is arguably among the best strikers that the academy has seen this season or in recent times. If they do not sign him on, it would be a talent lost for the Gunners.