Arsenal have been told a January exit is the best way to unlock the true potential of a current Gunners star finding it “just too easy” under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal are facing up to a period of great upheaval within their forward ranks. Both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are in the final years of their contracts. In both cases, it appears more likely the players will leave rather than pen fresh terms at present.
Lacazette has been afforded just 49 minutes of league action this term. That led to a former striker panning Arteta after insisting he too would want to leave if in Lacazette’s position.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has returned to his more customary central striker role with Lacazette marginalised.
Folarin Balogun had appeared to make an important step forward when given minutes in each of Arsenal’s first two league matches this term.
While those opportunities admittedly arose due to injuries elsewhere, the highly touted 20-year-old has been knocking on the first-team door for some time.
However, once the regular attackers returned, Balogun was once again shunted back down to the Under-23s. At that level, Balogun is virtually unstoppable. He has bagged six goals and an assist to boot in just four matches this term.
That has led to former Gunners hitman Kevin Campbell urging Arsenal and Balogun to seek a January loan move. Per Campbell, Balogun’s career won’t develop as it should at a level that is “just too easy” for him.
“Balogun needs to go out on loan and get some football. He needs to learn his trade,” Campbell told Football Insider.
“Under-23s football is just too easy for him at the moment. He needs to go into the trenches. That is the only way he will learn about his game.
“When you play against the defenders in the lower leagues, they have mortgages and families to look after. It’s serious. Whereas it is all hunky-dory in the Under-23s.
“I think he will go out and get that experience next year. Then he will realise his standard.”
Lacazette targeted to replace former Arsenal favourite
Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette has emerged as a target for an Italian club looking to offload one of the Arsenal forward’s former teammates, reports suggest.
Lacazette is in the final year of his contract with Arsenal, who have been reluctant to offer him significant terms.
Still a reasonably reliable goalscorer, Lacazette should have several suitors. There have been claims of him staying in the Premier League with someone like West Ham, although he may venture abroad instead.
According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, he has been eyed as a potential reinforcement for Inter Milan, who are looking for another attacker.
Inter lost Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea in the summer, bringing in Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa to help fill the void. Dzeko has started particularly well, but further options may be required in the event of additional departures.
Specifically, former Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez is being tipped to leave in January. His career has nosedived since he left the Gunners for Manchester United before landing at Inter.