Balogun departure “would be a good move for all parties”

Fair play to Folarin Balogun.

The easy option would have been return to Arsenal and following his form and contract situation (2-years left), agree a new 5-year deal on £100k a week deal.

It would have taken him through to being 27 with £26million in his pocket (although the taxman would take half), regardless of how much he plays.

But after his breakout season with Reims, he has the desire to play regular first team football. And that is something Arsenal can not provide.

Balogun is not getting in the Arsenal team ahead of Gabriel Jesus.

Yes, he has 18 goals this season and is one of the hottest young strikers in Europe. But Jesus is the better – and more suitable – player.

Balogun is an old school centre forward. He does not pop up on the flanks, run the channels or press high. All things Jesus does.

Our forward line is all about fluidity. Jesus goes out wide, Martinelli drops inside. Jesus drops deep, Odegaard becomes a false 9. It makes our attacking shape unpredictable and hard to pick up.

Balogun would stay more centrally, similar to Erling Haaland at Manchester City. And to accomodate that sort of striker you lose some of the all round team threat.

Haaland is a freak with his 45 goals this season (at the last time I counted), so Manchester City do not really suffer. But Balogun is no where near his level.

So that would leave Balogun, at best, as 2nd choice striker next season. It is a position he does not want to play.

Eddie Nketiah has played 990 Premier League minutes this season. He only played that many due to Jesus picking up a knee injury at the World Cup. Had Jesus not been injured, his game time would probably have been below 500 minutes.

Balogun is up to 2298 in France. 990 to 2298 is a huge difference. So you can king of see why Balgoun does not have the desire to return to Arsenal and be second choice.

He knows that he could move to someone like RB Leipzig and be their first choice striker.

Christopher Nkunku is leaving the German outfit for Chelsea in the summer. He is Leipzig’s top scorer with 12 goals this season. Balgoun would be a good option to replace him.

And that move would be very good for Folarin’s career, and international aspirations.

He goes to German, plays week in week out and bangs in the goals, then he will be knocking on that England door. Although with Ivan Toney, Ollie Watkins and Calum Wilson, Gareth Southgate does have some deserving strikers ahead of him.

Give it two-years, smash in 40+ goals in that period and he will be ready for another step up. A top English club will probably come in for him.

That opportunity will not arise at Arsenal. As we have seen above, he would be playing second fiddle behind Jesus. He has the ambition to be more than a 2nd choice striker and knows he needs the move to get it.

And during this blog, we have assumed Balgoun would be 2nd choice at Arsenal. I am not so sure on that.

18 goals in France does look impressive, until you realise that Alexandre Lacazette also has 18. Is the French league that poor that someone like Lacazette – who looked done and dusted in the Premier League – is now vying out for top scorer?

The headline might be “scored more than Messi and Neymar”, but “scored one more than Wissam Ben Yedder” is not quite as impactful.

In January, we added Leandro Trossard to the squad. A player who has the versatility and ability to play across the front 3.

When Nketiah joined Jesus on the injury table, Trossard played through the middle. He showed that his movement was something we missed with no Jesus.

One could make the argument now that if Jesus picked up another injury, then it would be Trossard who comes in for him, not Nketiah.

That gives us Jesus, Trossard and Nketiah as striker options. Maybe throw in Martinelli as well. Balgoun will probably be relying on a couple of injuries to play. At best he would become a super sub – thrown on as a finisher up top as we lump the ball into the box.

Balogun is also not versatile. I think what Edu and his recruitment team will be looking for this summer is a wide right forward, who can then drop inside if needed. Another Trossard player.

This is not me saying Balogun is a poor player. He is clearly an excellent finisher. It is just that he does not quite suit Arsenal, and he has the ambition to not be a bench player.

A move to someone like Leipzig for £40m+ would be a good move for all parties. A bit like Joe Willock joining Newcastle for £25m.

Arsenal would be getting a big chunk of money that they can reinvest (sell Balgoun for £40m, buy a right wing forward for £40m. Squad instantly better).
Leipzig would geting a hot prospect to fill the boots of their top scorer, and someone they will probably be able to make a profit on in 2 years.
Balogun will get the regular first team football that he desires.

I guess the only remaining discussion is whether Arsenal should take a lower transfer fee and have a buy-back option. Would a £30m deal with Arsenal retaining an option to buy back for £50m in 2 years be preferable to getting £40m?

That way, if Balogun explodes, we could buy him back and have a ready-made Jesus replacement (Although Gabriel will still only be 28!).

What do you think?



7 thoughts on “Balogun departure “would be a good move for all parties”

  1. Vs.

    Odegaard does’nt replace jesus when he drops deep xhaka does,watch xhaka’s position whenever he scores then you’ll know what i’m saying.On Balogun i agree he can be sold provided we can get a good sum from his sale (45 million pound at least) if he hits 20+ goals.


  2. Positive pete

    Spot on.Flog him as won’t sign a new contract for reasons mentioned.We can upgrade our forward line or knock it off price of Rice,Caicedo etc.whatever.V.useful for the warchest.£40 million & bite their hands off.” A bird in the hand” & all that…..


    1. keenosafc Post author

      It is not that I do not know how to spell his name. It is that one hand is quicker than the either (it gets more of a workout) which can lead to typos.


  3. Alex

    Keep Balogun and sell Nketiah please. We could really do with a striker for Plan B, the plan that we really need at times when a very poor team just try to frustrate our players, and Balogun would be perfect. I don’t see Balogun leaving if qualify for the Champions League? Edu should point out to him the opportunity that offers him to put himself in the European shop window and either prove his worth to the Arsenal or get a transfer to a top club in Europe.


  4. Pingback: Premier League hot-shot “goals to play for Arsenal at some point” – Premier League Football

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