Folarin Balogun is set to leave Arsenal on a permanent transfer to an unspecified European club after talks break down during contract negotiations.
Mikel Arteta’s future plans were just clicking into place but were disrupted in the past days by some unwelcome news for the Spaniard to intake.
Arsenal Central understands that Balogun’s new contract negotiations have broken down due to an offer that was said to be “unbelievable and disrespectful”, according to the 19-year-old’s representative at Elite Project Group.
Man management has been an issue this season at Arsenal for Mikel Arteta and when you look at the bigger picture, you have to recognise that you cannot give all players the game time their representatives require for them to have.
Arsenal have a competitive, big squad and with Gabriel Martinelli returning from injury, Alexandre Lacazette returning to form and Eddie Nketiah looking like a good back up, it remains to be seen whether the New York City-born teenager would get the game time he requires if he continued on at Arteta’s Arsenal.
With new academy signing Nikolaj Moller firing on all cylinders for the Gunners and Marcelo Flores ripping it up for the Under 18s, the question has to be asked whether Arsenal are strong enough in Balogun’s favoured position or whether they could do with retaining the services of the 19-year-old.
Always within the signing on fee at a new club, there is always more funds available than the funds available when signing a contract extension and the agent is holding out for the best possible contract for his client as he did when he signed his first pro contract at 17 Years Old. Most academy players sign on the dotted line the day that they turn 17.
Instead of signing his first professional contract on his birthday, Balogun signed it 7 months on from July, in February.
His representatives have a style which more often than not includes running down the player’s contract. This situation will be no different, if Arsenal do not offer what Elite Project Group want for their client then they will know that plenty of clubs worldwide will meet their requirements which could see one of Arsenal’s most promising youngsters gone before the end of January.
Sources close to the player’s camp have also confirmed to Arsenal Central that Folarin wants to stay at Arsenal and “Make a name for himself” however the opportunities for game time through the Europa League may have come too little too late.
However, when he got his chances under Mikel Arteta he was on the pitch for 8 minutes against Molde, in that time Folarin managed to bag a goal. In his 28 minutes against Dundalk, he scored a goal and grabbed an assist. This means after just 61 minutes of first-team football he has already got 2 goals and 1 assist.
Mikel Arteta reassured the journalists in his press conference ahead of facing Newcastle United in the FA Cup that the football club is doing “everything in [its] power to get it done”.
Speaking on the topic, the Arsenal manager said: “the player wants to stay and I am not sure about the agent.”
More will be revealed when Mikel Arteta makes his decision as to whether or not he decides to give the 19-year-old more minutes come Saturday at home to Newcastle in the FA Cup third round.
It would be strange man-management from Mikel Arteta if he decides to start Balogun or even include him in the match-day squad if he knew that he was on his way to a new club unless it is a tactic from Arteta to emphasise the point that if he stays at Arsenal he will get minutes.
Starting in the FA Cup on Saturday would change all Arsenal fan’s perceptions of the situation and make them more hopeful that there could be light at the end of the tunnel.
But for now, no agreement has been reached and not sorting a new deal before the end of the January Transfer Window would be a huge mistake and create more stress for Arsenal fans in a saga that has been ongoing ever since months before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put pen to paper on a three-year extension at Arsenal.
The pen lies with Arsenal they need to get it on the dotted line or a European giant will come for the Gunner’s wonderkid sooner rather than later.