Will wonders never cease? Here we are, with a want-away striker, and here Tottenham are, having sold a want-away striker. There might be a slight gulf in class ‘twixt the two. The former has played but two Prem matches, totaling 70 minutes and no goals; the latter has played in 320 Prem matches, scoring 213 times. With Harry Kane off to Bayern Munich, presumably to win more trophies in one season than he’s won in his entire career, Spurs need a striker. We have one to spare. Should we be selling Balogun off to Tottenham?
It’s a risky move. How does Balogun compare to, say, Emmanuel Adebayor? Adebayor was arguably among the best Prem-era strikers we’ve had since Henry, ranking not too far below van Persie but clearly ahead of Giroud, Bendtner, Chamakh, or Welbeck. Balogun is still plumbing the depths of his potential and would almost certainly emerge as the front-runner in a head-to-head against Nketiah. Despite that potential, he’s clearly on the outs with Arteta. After scant minutes in the preseason, he didn’t even make the bench for the Community Shield or the Prem opener. Still, he could very well turn into a very good #9.
For whatever reason, be it attitude, aptitude, or application, Balogun just doesn’t seem to have a place in this squad, and that’s apparent even after Jesus went under the knife. Perhaps he’s damaged goods. Perhaps he’s past his sell-by. More clearly, he seems himself as better than this club, and that, more than anything else, might qualify him for a transfer over to Tottenham. Where else would he find his kin other than at a club that, for its entire existence, has deluded itself into thinking that it’s better than the Arsenal?
Would such a transfer be akin to Adebayor (eventually) to Tottenham or Campbell (directly) to Arsenal? Tough call. We still don’t know just what Balogun is capable of at this level. Yes, he lit up Ligue 1, but so too did Lacazette, and no one’s fighting to get to the front of the queue to sign him.
Could we saddle Spurs with an albatross by selling Balogun to them at, say, £60m? Monaco and Inter have been nibbling without taking the bait at £50m, but Daniel Levy would have to know that there’d be a Prem premium, not to mention an NLD honorarium. Add to that the potential risk: should we allow Balogun to sign with Tottenham, he could become the reverse of Campbell to Arsenal. He has the potential, but could he deliver? Could we cope with the prospect of seeing a lad who joined the Arsenal at the tender, young age of eight switching sides and finding his footing?
I’ll tell you this. Put me on record as endorsing the transfer. Balogun doesn’t impress me as someone who’ll fight and claw and scratch. He might very well become the kind of striker who’ll score twelve or fifteen goals in the Prem. If Tottenham want him—and are willing to pay a premium to get him—let’s let them have him. It’s a match made in heaven.