Go with the flow, Flo: time for Arsenal to sell Balogun…


Like a salmon swimming upstream, Folarin Balogun has chosen to go against the flow, opting to push his way out of the club that so many others are just dying to join. With Martinelli, Ramsdale, Saliba, and Saka renewing contracts, with Havertz, Timber, and now Rice joining, it would seem that all of the momentum is in Arsenal’s favour. Somehow, however, Balogun sees his future elsewhere. Given his attitude and the fact that we may just have a bidding war on our hands, it seems like it’s time to cash out.

We’ve been down this road before. To his credit, Balogun wants to lead the line, but that’s not going to happen at the Arsenal, not with Gabriel Jesus in the squad. This US tour is meant to give Balogun a chance at showing what he’s capable of against the likes of Man U and Barcelona, even if these are merely preseason friendlies. Whatever the stakes over the next week or so, Balogun’s mind seems to be anywhere else, Speaking ahead of the trip, here’s what he had to say:

“I think with me coming back it’s not really much of a situation where I think I can need to try extra hard to prove soemthing [sic], I think it’s a decision that’s not really with me. Whatever happens I’m cool with it.”

Those hardly seem like the words of a player who wants to fight for a spot here. Instead, those sound like the words of player who (a) doesn’t see any value in fighting for a spot or (b) already has one foot out the door. Going just one step further, it does start to sound like the lad has had his pillow fluffed just a few too many times and, as a result, has been dreaming of replicating his Ligue 1 form in the Prem.

Enter Inter.

They’ve apparently made a bid of some £40m, which is almost enough to inspire a spit-take, but I’m a lazy, lazy man. If Inter are serious about signing Balogun, I’d suggest they look at osmething closer to £50m…with a buy-back clause…and a sell-on fee. He’s full of potential, and Inter are sitting on £45m of pure cheddar, having sold André Onana to Man U after getting him on a free transfer just one year ago. In other words, they’re flush.

Not convinced? Hm. There are reports of interest in Balogun from none other than West Ham, Crystal Palace, and Brighton. Looks like a bidding war in the making. Each of these clubs has pressing needs up top, and Balogun could very well be the player to make a difference. I don’t wish any ill will on the lad, but I would hate to see him join another Prem club and lay waste to opposing defenses. In an ideal world, those three drive Inter to meet our demands (wouldn’t that be just a little too ironic for West Ham and Brighton to do us a favor?), resulting in Balogun plying his trade in Italy rather than in England? I’m all for it.

Taking a longer view, this is the kind of situation that Arsène might have mismanaged, rewarding the player for his want-away ambitions with a plum deal. Arteta seems to be made of sterner stuff, saying that “we will see what happens” regarding Balogun’s future with the club. Ruthless? Perhaps. Ambitious? More certainly so. Over the next few weeks, tIme will tell whether Balogun can prove his worth, whether that refers to his contributions to this squad or to his suitors.

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14 thoughts on “Go with the flow, Flo: time for Arsenal to sell Balogun…

  1. daveg

    Arsenal wont sell him for less than £60 million, which for a young international who has scored more than 20 goals is a bargain at £60 million. Thats just £10 million more than southampton want for the no goals Lavia who they astonishingly value at £50 million that all you journalist seem to think is reasonable! Arsenal have already turned down two bids of £55 million for Balogan as they would rather keep him if less than £60 million is the bid.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I would be thrilled with a £60m fee, especially if we sell him away from the Prem. I don’t bear any ill will against the lad but wouldn’t want to see him tearing it up for Brighton.

  2. jw1

    Good writeup Jon. And– until this past week, my view squared with yours.

    Yet, I saw something that gave me pause last week. I’m of the mind that this US tour might have more sway on Flo’s decision than most may think. Wherever I’ve commented on Arsenal’s striker/CF situation– I’ve expressed it is key, having the ability to press at the front like your job depends on it. Because it does. What I saw in the Nurnberg game, on a couple of occasions, was Flo accelerating into pressing positions quicker than anyone currently in the squad. Jesus included. Jesus’ chase angles are probably the best around– but Flo has an impressive burst. That– could be how/why Arteta might convince Flo to stick at Arsenal this season. That skill could get Balogun minutes all by itself.

    We’d normally be looking for Balogun to net some goals these next two weeks, ‘shop window-wise’. I’m looking at him from the flip-side, seeing if he can hold his own defending from the front. Have the notion Arteta is challenging him to do the same.

    Arsenal have several pressers who are already among the best– Jesus, Martinelli, Odegaard, and now Havertz. But up front spelling Jesus, it’s Nketiah. While Eddie has improved– his chase angles are rounded, he doesn’t have the same short burst pace as Jesus and Martinelli. This is where Balogun may be of most value to this team.

    I’ll not be surprised if Mikel finds a way to convince Flo to stick– while Eddie is the striker who moves on.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Excellent anaylsis, JW. I was unable to watch the Nuremberg match and couldn’t even check furtively for updates from atop Mt. Cadillac. I’ll have to keep a close eye on Flo’s performance this week to see how he presses. Even if these matches are more like auditions for Inter and others, will Balogun play with the energy and drive you saw last week?

      If he’s as insistent on having a starting role, it’s hard to see him staying here. If he can be convinced that he’s ahead of Nketiah and will get meaningful minutes, maybe he’ll embrace that role.

  3. consolsbob

    There is the matter of needing to bring in some hard cash. Spent, £200m, brought in, £26m. Maybe Balogun is a better option than Nketiah. Has anyone made an offer for him? Never heard of any serious outside interest.

    Sometimes needs must and this might be one of those times.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      For as aggressive as we’ve been bringing players in, we’ve only sold Xhaka and Pablo Mari. Looking beyond them, there have been the rumours around Partey to Juve or Saudi Arabia. I’ve only heard the faintest of rumours around Holding, but his fee is unlikely to rise above £10m. I’d love to see us unload Pepe at almost any price (there’s no way we’ll recoup that £72m), but getting his £140k weekly salary off the books would be useful). Scanning the rest of the squad, it’s hard to see anyone else whom we could sell at a significant fee. Maybe Tierney. Cedric, Elneny, Lokonga, and Tavares could all be sold, but a combined fee for all five might reach £60m. Prepare for a lot of stick for our massive net spend over these last three windows…and the current window still has 6-7 weeks to go.

  4. Eoin ó Conchobhair

    Balogun seems better but for that reason easier to move. Nketiah’s on something 100k/wk. He’d probably be best for a midtable club like Fulham, Wolves, or Palace – but he probably sees himself as bigger than that. Any fee for Nketiah would probably only be around 20m, to really making a dent in our net spend.

  5. A Simple Truth

    two quick points:

    (1) Palace, West Ham and BHA in a bidding war for a supposed 50+M Striker with one season of good form on the books = almost as laughable as Inter giving us 50 + both a buy-back clause and a sell-on fee…what you be smoking Jon and how can I get some tout suite!!

    (2) if it weren’t for the seemingly constant short-sightedness displayed by our manager et al, when it comes to re-ups and the like, we wouldn’t be in this predicament…there still exists some acrimony between manager and player which arose during Balo’s mismanaged re-upping, then the very next year we let Eddie’s contract expire, which led to him being offered a ridiculous contract…if we had even a modicum of foresight Eddie would already be elsewhere and Balo would have been slotting in behind Jesus last season, as he offers us something a little different up top and bags of pace

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      The only thing I’m high on is love– love for my son and daughter. Yes, a little L.S.D. is all I need.

      Just between you and me, I’d be thrilled with anything above 35m for Balogun.

      as for these other issues, I agree that we’ve seen some stumbling around in the dark. 100k for Nketiah feels almost like extortion, all the more so when we consider that there’s been almost no interest from other clubs in signing (by contrast with Balogun). I still hold onto a shred of hope that Balogun can be convinced to stay albeit as an alternate to Jesus, but if there are hard feelings from his last contract talk, that might a pipe dream on my part.

  6. consolsbob

    I think any ‘ill feeling’ must be a speculative opinion. Was it mismanaged? I remember a debate on Arsenal blogs asto who was the better option and both players had their supporters. It was a call. It was made. Nketiah had done it in the PL, Balogun hadn’t and on his loan in the Championship, he seemed a little underwhelming.

    Maybe he is the real deal. Maybe we would be fools to sell him. Time will tell but I suspect that our next striker will be someone else altogether.

    No need to get our knickers in a twist. Players come and go. Debate is part of football. None of us actually know much of what goes on inside a club.

    1. A Simple Truth

      try doing your due diligence before offering up your 2 cents…there were publicly noted tensions between Balo’s camp and the club leading up to his last re-upping…nothing I said was revelatory and/or speculative, as you would suggest…whenever you leave things to the 11th hour or beyond you lose all your leverage, unless the player in question has no other options whatsoever…it’s a pretty simple concept

  7. consolsbob

    You like to pretend that you are reasonable. Well, even if your views maybe, your approach is just rude and arrogant.

    If you think that somehow you are the only one with a keen interest and knowledge, limited as it must be by the means in which we glean our knowledge, I believe that you are mistaken. Arsenal has an enormous following. If you do not acknowledge that a great number of supporters, many of whom have followed the club for decades, actually might have a view at odds with yours or even question it then it says much about you.

    It also defeats the purpose of an Arsenal blog. We are here to talk bollocks about Arsenal, not to try and close down debate.

    1. jw1

      Good to cross your path again bob. Posted every so often at ACLF (RIP, Yogi), but not regularly. One of the places I read regularly. Though I never met Stuart, he was a writer whose accounts and travels I enjoyed hearing about.

      Anyway, glad you stopped in.


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