United States Men's national Soccer Team News

Folarin Balogun to leave Arsenal FC

Per Mertesacker reveals that Balogun is likely to be sent out on loan in the January transfer window.

Balogun played against Sunderland in Arsenal win 5-1
Balogun played against Sunderland in Arsenal win 5-1

The last Arsenal match for the EFL Cup was a test for Arteta´s youth players. The Spaniard decided to give minutes to players that are not in the common starting lineup for the Premier League or for any important game.

That was the case for Folarin Balogun, the American player that is having a good season with Arsenal U-23 but that he was not able to play a good match against Sunderland. Balogun came off the pitch in the 55th minute.   

Not the performance the fans were expecting

Sadly his performance was not the best for Arteta´s test to know which players are ready for the senior team. Definitely, the U.S. player would not be in the manager’s plans. The game of Folarin showed a lack of confidence and immaturity inside the pitch.

He couldn't have illustrated this better than when he was booked for clattering into Sunderland skipper Bailey Wright early on in the second half.

He was hooked by Arteta shortly after, as the Spaniard opted to bring on Granit Xhaka to take control of the midfield - leaving Nketiah as the lone front-man.

Balogun has no shortage of loan suitors, with plenty of EFL clubs, perhaps even Sunderland themselves, interested in taking him for the rest of the season.

The regular senior football would do the 20-year-old a world of good, as he is clearly beyond youth football now, having scored 13 goals in 11 PL2 appearances for Arsenal's Under-23s this term.

The U.S. player will be on loan for the second semester of the season

Being stuck in limbo between youth and men's football won't do him any good. The American player is expected to go out on loan in January but had his chance against Sunderland to claim a first-team spot.

Arsenal's academy manager Per Mertesacker has picked out Folarin Balogun as the most likely youngster to make the step up to the first-team - but reveals he is likely to be sent out on loan in the January transfer window.

Nottingham Forest have joined a plethora of clubs in the race to sign the 20-year-old. Middlesbrough are also keen and they arguably hold a clearer pathway towards plenty of first-team football.

But the Athletic claim that the situation with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could actually edge Balogun closer to the Arsenal first team.

Balogun's career at Arsenal is promising

The 20-year-old, who signed a new long-term deal until 2025 in April, has been on fire for Kevin Betsy’s side this season.

Balogun was officially promoted to the first-team squad in the summer, but without many opportunities due to the presence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Nketiah, he has spent much of the season so far with the under-23s/21s.

“(He’s) showing an example to our young ones. When they’re thinking they want to be in the first team and at that level, they look at him and see, that’s the level — whatever position. His professionalism off the pitch is second to none and he’s a top character”, said Kevin Betsy, U-23 Arsenal FC manager.

Given his presence in under-23s squads over the past few seasons, some fans felt another half-season with that age group would not be particularly beneficial. This sentiment has been shared by England Under-21s head coach Lee Carsley, who recently admitted he felt under-23s football was becoming too easy for Balogun.

Hugo Alberto Walls Gómez

SEO Journalist. Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Media Production. Two years working in digital media and editorial assignments. Currently working for Futbolero US and collaborating with INDeportes and Goleadoras MX, following Liga MX, MLS, and the Premier League. Passionate about sports and soccer.+ info

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