Thursday, March 23, 2023

Update On The Future Of This On-Loan Arsenal Forward: Should Arteta Cut Him Loose?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, The Sun provided an update on the future of on-loan Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who is playing for Stade Reims in France at the moment. It has been claimed that the Gunners are hoping to cash in on the English striker.

Balogun’s Impressive Form In French Football This Season

Balogun has caught the eye with his performances as the spearhead of Reims’ attack during this campaign. The New York-born talent has found the back of the net 15 times and earned two assists in 22 appearances for the French club this season across multiple competitions.

The 21-year-old has given a good account of himself in the final third based on his average of 3.0 shots, 0.7 key passes and 0.9 dribbles per 90 minutes in Ligue 1. However, he needs to improve his link-up play in the opponent’s half after making 67.8% of his attempted passes in the French first division (stats via whoscored).

His current contract at Arsenal is set to run out in the summer of 2025. Hence, Mikel Arteta has no immediate need to cash in on him at the end of this campaign. However, Arsenal will also struggle to keep him happy as they cannot afford to give him regular playing minutes at the Emirates Stadium next season.

Emirates Stadium
Emirates Stadium

Should Arsenal Head Coach Mikel Arteta Cut Balogun Loose?

Balogun is proficient at finding space for himself to get a few strikes in at goal. He has proven himself to be a prolific presence in front of the opposition goal. At the moment, the English talent is playing at a high level and can also create some decent openings for his teammates in the final third. He is primarily a centre-forward but can also fill in as a left-sided wide player if his manager asks him to do so.

However, Balogun has been guilty of giving away the ball cheaply at times up top. Still, there is no denying that the 21-year-old has the potential to become a future star in European football.

However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has got Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah as his first team forwards. Hence, he cannot afford to give Balogun enough game time when he returns from his loan spell in France at the end of this campaign.

All in all, it makes sense for the Gunners to cut the English youngster loose next summer and use the money generated from his potential sale to strengthen other areas of their match-day squad.

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