Arsenal must cash in on Balogun (and others)


With our Prem position all but settled, barring an epic collapse from Man City, we have to look ahead to the summer transfer window. We’ll have to clear out quite a lot of players, and there’s no room for misty-eyed sentimentalism, no room for nostaglia, no room for myopic dreaming. In this post, we looked at first teamers who might find themselves surplus to requirements. In today’s post, we look at fringe players who’ve been on loan to see who among them we should, if possible, jettison.

Folarin Balogun
He’s flattered to deceive, what with his 19 goals in 34 appearances, scoring 0.62 goals per 90. That rate of return would surely see him lead the line, would it not? Hold that thought: Alexandre Lacazette tops Balogun with 25 goals in 32 appearances, scoring 0.84 goals per 90. This only shows that it’s difficult to compare players’ performances in different leagues; Lacazette was at best a Giroud-lite who couldn’t finish 90 minutes. If we can sell Balogun, so much the better for us.

Nicolas Pépé
Here is one that might be pressing, given his age, his wages, and his fee. We’ll never recoup the £72m fee we paid to get him, but it might be nice to get his £140k weekly wages off the books. His contract expires June 2024, so we may just find ourselves on the hook for the bulk of his wages for the next year. After that, thankfully, he’ll be off the books. This one was Raul Sanllehi’s doing, may he rot in hell or at least in its vestibule.

Albert Sambi Lokonga
He’s a project but one whom Arteta tried to integrate into the first team. The loan to Palace might have born fruit if Patrick Vieira had been given more time to tutor the Belgian. We paid £18m to bring him in, and it’s hard to see him justifying that fee. If we can move him on, this might just be best for all involved. His contract comes up this summer, and it’s hard to see us working all that hard to keep him.

Nuno Tavares
LIke Balogun, he’s done quite well for himself while on loan. However, that might actually work against him. Confidence was never the issue; overconfidence was. Playing like a latter-day Ashley Cole in Ligue 1 might do wonders for his confidence, but that might only work against him. With a contract expiring this summer, this one may end up just being water under a bridge.

Rob Holding
On one hand, I really should have included Holdinho in that previous post about those with a sniff at first-team action. However, the emergence of Kiwior has shown just how far down the pecking-order Holding has fallen. To be displaced from the XI by a 23 year old new to the Prem shines a harsh light on Holding’s quality. His contract expires next summer; it’s hard to see him earning any playing time next season given Kiwior’s form, Saliba’s return to fitness, and the the signing of another CB.

That’s where we’ll leave things for this installment. Our next one will shine a harsher light on those even further from first-team action. There”ll be a mix of good news and bad, kind of like a shot of Malort followed by a beer chaser. For as exciting as it might be to contemplate the signing of Rice or Caicedo or Osimhein, we do have to have a spring cleaning first or at least along the way.

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6 thoughts on “Arsenal must cash in on Balogun (and others)

  1. palladio43

    Hard to argue with your assessment. One does have to wonder about Balogun, but will we regret letting him go? OTH he won’t be the first we got wrong and probably not the last.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      He feels very much like a roll of the dice. I don’t get the feeling from him or Nketiah that I got from a player like Gnabry, whom I still regret losing (for which I will blame Tony Pulis). Nelson offers some flashes beyond that electrifying Bournemouth goal, but I’m not sure I’m convinced. If we could arrange a domestic loan, that might give us more evidence on which to base a sound decision.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Balogun’s stock is high right now, and I hate to make too much of his decision to represent the USMNT, but I don’t think he has that extra level to play in or for England.

  2. jw1

    (Wasn’t sure Jon if you checked comments on previous posts– so am responding off-topic here– regarding City and their 100+ charges…)

    Jon– from what I’ve read, there’s a single appeal available to City. It will remain within the system the FA and PL have created for the hearing of the charges. Cannot be appealed outside to UEFA. So City can’t get to the CAS where they ran out the clock in 2019.

    The appeal would entail replacing the 2 members of the board who hear this upcoming hearing with the exception of Murray Rosen KC, who remains as the constant.

    Got to believe the new appeal panel members have already been chosen as well (since this was made known in February) and brought to speed to keep the matter expeditious.

    The FA and PL IMHO would not have relitigated these charges without the express purpose of making them stick. Punishing City, again IMO, and with massive consequence– might be the FA’s last chance to retain financial oversight over football in England.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Great insight, jw. I really do hope you’re right here. On one hand, I admit that my own concern is spiteful- I want to see City punished. I respect many of their players and would regret seeing some of them sanctioned individually if it came to that. On the other hand, 97% of me wants to see the FA restore financial oversight of football in England, if I can twist your words ever so slightly.


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