Folarin Balogun set to audition against Brentford as rumors of potential Aubameyang exit swirl
Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun is set to make his full debut tonight for the Gunners when Mikel Arteta’s troops travel to the Brentford Community Stadium to clash with Thomas Frank’s newly-promoted Bees.
As first reported by @Podcast_TBG understand that Folarin Balogun will start for #AFC tonight against Brentford pic.twitter.com/98jYXANgzn
— Kaya Kaynak (@kayakaynak97) August 13, 2021
As first reported by The Beautiful Game Podcast and subsequently confirmed by both CBS Sports’ James Benge, and Football.London’s Kaya Kaynak, the Hale End graduate – who extended his contract with the club this summer amidst tensions he would leave – will be given his first chance to impress for the first team, which will be the first Premier League minutes of his career.
Balogun’s chance comes by way of breaking news earlier today that both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were unavailable for selection tonight through unexpected illness. But more recent links doing the rounds within the last hour come via The Sun with the shocking claim that Arsenal is willing to off-load Aubameyang despite the club tying down the Gabonese international to a £350k/week extension.
Perhaps a bit unexpected, but equally not surprising given the buzz that has surrounded Balogun in the past. Football.London’s Chief Arsenal reporter Chris Wheatley earlier in the summer made mention of the fact that Balogun was in line to compete for a place in the first-team set up this season.
Expectation is that Flo Balogun will compete for a place in the Arsenal first team next season.
Will be assessed in pre-season and ‘compete for a place with the rest’. 🔴 #AFC
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) June 7, 2021
Boss Mikel Arteta was to assess the England youngster and Hale End academy graduate during the pre-season, and if Balogun has done enough to be given his full debut in the Premier League tonight, there is scope to suggest that perhaps the club are willing to move on from existing big-money contracts – like Aubameyang’s – despite the recent extension.
Should Balogun pass inspection – or, dare I say, find the back of the net – the notion that Arsenal needs to scour the market to find a long-term solution to replace Aubameyang and Lacazette could very well be put to bed in short order.