Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun eyeing January move to prove himself first-team ready
Balogun eyeing key chance at first-team minutes
Arsenal striker and Hale End graduate Folarin Balogun could be set to add to his CV in January after the England U21 international is said to be eyeing a loan move away from the Emirates during the winter window with a view of proving himself first-team ready.
According to Football.London’s Chief Arsenal reporter Chris Wheatley, the recently extended Arsenal youngster is keen on getting his first proper chance at first-team football after his appearances for the Gunners this season have been expectedly limited.
With no European football on offer at the Emirates this season, Balogun remains – at best – the third choice option behind veteran duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, while Eddie Nketiah also remains at the club in addition to the possibility of Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli also competing for minutes.
Folarin Balogun keen on proving himself at first team level after scoring 14 goals in 10 #PL2 games this season.
Middlesbrough and Saint-Etienne among the various interested clubs in Arsenal’s talented forward #AFC https://t.co/SlPud9UJLb
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) December 1, 2021
It was mentioned by Wheatley that a number of clubs are rumored to be keen on making a move for the New York City-born forward, including Championship outfit Middlesbrough as well as Ligue 1 side AS Saint-Étienne.
Arsenal in potential striker crisis
A loan for the second half of the season would hardly be a poor call by Mikel Arteta at Arsenal given the Gunners continued to hunt for a long-term center forward option to take up the reigns in the number 9 role.
With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah both out of contract in the summer and primed to leave the club, finding valuable experience for Balogun this season could prove a potentially cost-effective solution to a frustrating question at the Emirates.
Recent reports that link Arsenal with an increased offer for Fiorentina’s Serbian starlet Dušan Vlahović shows the urgency with which the club are trying to arrest the potential situation from a long-term perspective, but a free option through the academy could prove a masterstroke after Balogun has smashed it for the U23’s this season to the tune of 14-goals in ten league appearances while averaging a goal every 61-minutes.