Despite getting the chance to make his Arsenal debut last month, Folarin Balogun’s long-term future currently looks set to lie away from the Emirates.
As noted by the Daily Mirror, Balogun is out of contract with the Gunners at the end of the season. And it is claimed that he has rejected offers to sign fresh terms amid a desire to play regular first-team football.
Balogun boasts a hugely impressive record for the club’s youth ranks. Nevertheless, you could understand why Arteta has struggled to use him more often.
Arsenal tend to use a system with one striker. That has often meant that Alexandre Lacazette has led the line. But Arteta also has Eddie Nketiah available to him. Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains an option.
So the chances of convincing Balogun that he can enjoy the game-time he craves with Arsenal arguably look slim.
And perhaps, one decision Arteta has made this week could ultimately push Balogun a little closer to the Emirates exit.
As reported by Football London, the Arsenal boss promoted Nikolaj Moller to first-team training this week. The move comes with several first-team stars on international duty.
Moller has scored three goals in three Premier League 2 games for the under-23s. It is safe to say that the 18-year-old has made an outstanding start to life in North London.
It is arguably too soon to say whether Moller is close to making a first-team debut. But the promotion does certainly hint that he is in Arteta’s thinking moving forward.
That potentially leaves Balogun with another rival to contend with. And given that he was already on the periphery of the first-team squad, it may perhaps leave the 19-year-old even more determined to consider his future.
Balogun could yet force Arsenal’s hand. If he gets further chances in the Europa League and impresses while Lacazette’s wait for a goal goes on, then perhaps Arteta will be left with a decision to make.
But right now, he may be wondering whether Moller’s promotion in training is another ominous sign.
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