The curious case of Folarin Balogun

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Mikel Arteta dropped a major hint on the future of Folarin Balogun after the young forward equalised for Arsenal in a recent friendly against Nurnberg. 

Balogun is back at Arsenal after a successful loan spell at Reim in Ligue 1 where he netted 21 in 37 games.

The youngster impressed last season and has been linked with a move away from the Emirates. Arteta alluded to a possible departure for the 22-year-old, and with Inter reportedly circling, Balogun could be on his way out.

That being said, having performed well while out on loan at Reim, it might make sense for Arteta to keep hold of the youngster.

Why should Arteta keep Balogun for this season?

Scoring 21 in a top-five league at the age of 22 is no mean feat. Balogun was exceptional last season and proved consistently that he can be a reliable performer and goalscorer in a top five league.

However, playing pushing for mid-table/top half to one that is chasing titles and trophies are completely different expectations which could weigh heavy on the decision for Arteta.

Not only that, but Balogun isn’t guaranteed a starting place in the team which could ultimately push him elsewhere should the drive for first team football outweigh that of staying at Arsenal.

Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – Paris St Germain v Stade de Reims – Parc des Princes, Paris, France – January 29, 2023 Stade de Reims’ Folarin Balogun in action with Paris St Germain’s Fabian Ruiz and Sergio Ramos REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

In terms of being clinical, Balogun proved his worth last season. According to FBref, the US international was in the top 90 percentile of non-penalty xG and non-penalty goals showing how dangerous he was inside the box.

Not only was putting chances away high on his abilities last season, but also getting into good goalscoring positions as the xG showed.

That could prove important for Arteta as the season progresses, especially in Europe with a busy schedule for the upcoming season likely to impact how he rotates his squad.

Other than Eddie Nketiah, the squad doesn’t boast many natural strikers and Balogun with his track record and trajectory could prove a major player next season.

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