There is no debate that Folarin Balogun is too good for under 23 football.
Another 2 goals for the Arsenal U23s against Chelsea has taken his tally in the Premier League 2 to 23 goals in 46 games.
Balogun made his U23 debut back in the 2017/18 season. In 2019/20 he scored 10 goals in 15 U23 appearances. And than last season he added another 9 in 18 appearances.
Having signed a new contract in the summer, it was expected he would progress to become a regular in Arsenal’s first team squad.
Balogun started the first game of the season as a Covid hit team lost to Brentford. He came off the bench for the last 11 minutes against Chelsea in the Premier League but has not made the match day squad for any of the last 3 Premier League games.
Ahead of him he has Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacezatte, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli.
With 4 strikers ahead of him, and Arsenal not in Europe, Balogun will unlikely get a sniff of first team action this season.
But he has outgrown the U23 scene, despite still being just 20.
It was a probably a mistake not to loan him out for the season over the summer. Pick a Championship side in need of a striker where he would play week in week out. Like when Nketiah went to Leeds United.
With Lacazette and Nketiah’s contracts set to expire next summer, Balogun will quickly go up the pecking order and will likely be 3rd choice striker behind Aubameyang and Martinelli.
But for him to prove himself as worthy of being int he equation he needs to start playing regular men’s football.
U23 football is no longer enough for Balogun. He has outgrown it.
In January, Edu needs to find the correct team to move him onto for a 5 month loan deal. Then we can see what he is really made of.