Folarin Balogun is close to an Arsenal exit after the club struck a deal with AS Monaco, but will the club regret selling the striker?
One of the most intriguing storylines this summer was what Arsenal were going to do with the returning young striker. After a fruitful spell in Ligue 1 last season for Reims that yielded 22 goals from 37 league games, there was a thought he could feature for the Gunners moving forward.
But we never got the sense he was ever in Mikel Arteta’s plans, and perhaps the Arsenal boss will regret that thinking further down the road.
Are Arsenal making a mistake by selling Folarin Balogun?
With AS Monaco agreeing to a €40m package deal plus a sell-on clause for Arsenal in the future per Fabrizio Romano, Balogun, when the deal goes through, will be the most expensive sale in the club’s history, passing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s £35m in 2017.
The fee agreed between Arsenal and AS Monaco is a decent sum. Still, given how much the market has inflated, the Gunners could have gotten more and perhaps even closer to their reported €50m valuation of Balogun.
While there is a need to generate funds from player sales if the club has any intention of reinforcing the squad, should Arsenal have tried harder to keep Balogun around?
Ever since he and Eddie Nketiah have been compared, the general consensus is that Folarin was the better “striker.” That’s not to diminish Eddie’s talents, as he has already shown this year he is more than capable of filling in for Gabriel Jesus.
The line of thinking is that after Balogun’s season for Reims last year, he more than warranted a chance to at least compete for a starting role. While that might have been hard, given Jesus is nearly impossible to usurp, with the Champions League, League Cup, and the FA Cup on the schedule along with their league commitments, Balogun could have been given ample opportunities.
Alas, we will never find out, as the deal with Monaco is expected to be completed over the weekend.
We have little to doubt about Arteta when it comes to his transfer dealings over the last few seasons, but should Balogun go on to develop into the world-class striker some think he can become, then many fans will look back on this as an opportunity lost.
Balogun had the form; he was young and had a point to prove, yet Arsenal didn’t give him a chance.