Arsenal have reluctantly decided to let Folarin Balogun leave the club on loan in January – but any side he joins will not be offered the chance to make the deal permanent.
Balogun was facing an uncertain future at Arsenal approaching last summer, but he committed to the club for the long term. However, he is having to be patient for a genuine breakthrough at senior level.
After making six appearances in cup competitions last season, he has played just three times for the first team this term. He finds himself behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in the pecking order up front.
Furthermore, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah are also vying for a place in the same position. However, Nketiah has rejected an offer of a contract extension and is also looking to leave.
Balogun himself has been pushing Mikel Arteta to offer him more game time. And if that’s not the case, he’s made it clear that he wants to be allowed to leave on loan instead.
Now, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the Gunners have decided to let Balogun depart. Despite ongoing doubts on the future of Lacazette and Nketiah, they will let the England U21 hitman leave in a short-term deal.
Short-term Championship move on
The Gunners have no desire to give his suitors the option to make the move permanent. Instead, it will be stipulated that Balogun will return to Emirates Stadium at the end of the arrangement.
The 20-year-old will now discuss with his agent as well as Arsenal’s management which club to sign for.
Indeed, Football.London reports that three Championship sides are in the mix to acquire Balogun’s services.
They report that Middlesbrough, Swansea and Millwall are the trio in contention.
Only three points separate the sides in the Championship and all three will have aspirations about mounting a push for the play-offs.
Ultimately, it will all come down to game-time for Balogun and whose playing style suits him best. As such, the trio will all pitch for the chance to sign him, with a decision then made between the Gunners and the striker himself.
Further afield, Saint Etienne are named as contenders to take Balogun to Ligue 1 in France.
However, the New York-born frontman is likely to stay in England, or indeed Wales.
Balogun ready for new challenge
Balogun himself plans to use a regular taste of senior football to further his football education.
And in an interview recently, he explained why Under-23s football can not give him all he needs right now.
“I feel like I am ready for a new challenge,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Mirror.
“I feel like I have played youth football for a while. I’ve scored goals at that level and improved at that level drastically compared to now. At “he same time I am not sure what that challenge might be.
“It might be a loan, or if I am needed at Arsenal I am here and the gaffer knows that as well.
“I feel like I am definitely open to a new challenge, wherever it is I will be ready.
“As a striker and as a young player you need minutes. It is the best way to learn and get consistency.
“Whatever the plan is I’m going to give it 100 per cent and believe it will work out.”