Folarin Balogun Leaving Arsenal
Most evident of all is that the club’s last-ditch efforts to keep hold of Balogun have ended in failure. Even when the speculation strongly suggested that his departure was inevitable, Arteta stood firm and insisted there was a mutual desire from both parties to extend his stay in north London.
Not being included at all for the FA Cup clash added fuel to the exit fires, with the stance on Nketiah seemingly hammering the final nail in the coffin. Having previously stated that as long as Balogun was at the club he’d be given chances to play, a third round tie with Newcastle on home soil would presumably have been the most realistic of all the opportunities.
Even though West Ham are in the midst of a far more enjoyable season than Arsenal, they won’t be considered a direct rival as such, so their reluctance to sell to the Hammers isn’t specific. If they wanted to sell and someone expressed an interest, they’re unlikely to hold back.
That isn’t the stance at this stage, with Nketiah set to assume the backup role to Lacazette for the rest of the season. Perhaps even Aubameyang too if he persists in the centre-forward slot.
With it clear Nketiah is staying until the end of the season at the very least, unless there are plans in place for a summer sale then his value needs protecting. One of Lacazette or Nketiah will leave at the end of the season, along with Balogun, so reinforcements will also be required.
Behind the scenes we need to hope plans are being outlined for the current crop; both short-term, mid-term and with an eye on the long-term future.