Balogun, his transfer fee, and his attitude: Good Enough?

Folarin Balogun

How much is enough to consider the sale of a young striker as a sound piece of business?

With Folarin Balogun reportedly leaving for Monaco for a fee in the region of £ 40m, fans seem to be divided between those who say that we should have kept him ahead of Eddie Nketiah and those who believe we should have asked for more money, given the market’s craziness we’re witnessing.
Is £40m for a young striker with only one season in senior football, although excellent, truly not enough? I am not here to downplay Flo’s achievements in Ligue 1 or his impact on his debut season among the professionals and I am aware of his obvious talent. As far as I know, Folarin Balogun could go on and become one of the most prolific strikers in the world but, as of today, he is a young striker with a lot to prove.

I am old enough to remember Nicolas Anelka antics in the summer that led to his move to Real Madrid and I cannot help drawing comparison between the two, although the French maverick proved a lot more by the time he pushed to join Madrid. I loved very much seeing Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson coming through the ranks and earn their place in the squad, get important minutes in all competitions and leave their mark on the growth of a special, special team because they embodied the Arsenal best values and I felt represented by their behavior on and off the pitch.

With Folarin Balogun, it is not quite the same.


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There was an interview that made me realize that Folarin Balogun wasn’t a good fit for the team and for the club, and that was when he basically said that he had nothing to prove anymore. He didn’t reach Nicklas Bendtner’s levels, but his words transpired a level of arrogance that doesn’t really sit well with Mikel Arteta:

“I obviously went away, and the point was to prove I could play first team football. I feel I was able to do that and show people I can play at that level. I think with me coming back it’s not really much of a situation where I think I need to try extra hard to prove something, I think it’s a decision that’s not really with me. Whatever happens I’m cool with it.”

Let me get this straight: he did prove himself while at Reims and he is right to feel ready to play first team football week in, week out, but to say that “it’s not a situation where I need to try extra hard to prove something” sounds very wrong – especially at his age and at this stage of his non-existent career.

Mikel Arteta is famous for his non-negotiables, and it feels like Folarin Balogun overstepped a few of them with his words. When you compare Folarin Balogun’s words to Eddie Nketiah’s, you can see how big of a difference there is between the two and why Mikel Arteta appreciates the latter way more than the former.


“I don’t think I’m here to fill in for anyone. I’m here to play and contribute to the team. Obviously, I believe in my abilities, and I know I can contribute. The manager has got a tough decision and whenever he calls me, he knows I can deliver and I can help the team, so it’s just about us all collectively playing our part to achieve our goals. So not just myself, there’s many players that can obviously play in that position. We’re all ready, we are all good players, we’re all able to contribute at different points in the season, everyone’s going to have different roles. We want him Jesus back as soon as possible. We need him, he is a big player for us. So, whatever the manager does, we are all here to contribute and push to be out there to help the team, so whatever role I need to play I’m ready to contribute.”

Moreover, Folarin Balogun should have looked at William Saliba and his trajectory since he came back from his own successful loan spell in Ligue 1. The French defender could have demanded regular minutes, could have pushed the manager to guarantee him a place in the starting XI but, instead, earned his place on the pitch, both in training and in games.
From outside, Mikel Arteta’s philosophy has been quite clear since the very first day, so I find it strange that the American went all out with those words that are at the very opposite of his manager’s principles.

My feeling is that a move away is the best solution for everyone, because the player seeks guarantees that the club and the manager won’t give him, and the club knows that this is the best possible time to monetize on a young player that shone in his debut loan season.
Keeping him would only result in depreciating his value and disrupting the dressing room, all while wasting a year of the young striker’s career in a moment when he could make another step and build on his fantastic season in Ligue 1.

Getting £ 40m, in such circumstances, should be considered as a great piece of business – regardless of how good Folarin Balogun becomes over the years, because the player will only develop further away from the Emirates Stadium.

It is what it is and, most importantly, apparently it is not meant to be.

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6 Responses to Balogun, his transfer fee, and his attitude: Good Enough?

  1. daveg August 28, 2023 at 10:38 am #

    I think they only sold him to monoco at a cheap price because they had agreed to the best addons. i.e a good sell on and buy back clause. Due to the addition of Havertz their became fewer opportunities for another possible Tall Center Forward in a highly technical side and system. Balogun will gain confidence playing in europe with Monoco and get more game time. If he does well Arsenal can always buy him back in two or three years at a cheap rate depending on his contract clause!

    • ClockEnd Italia August 29, 2023 at 12:31 pm #

      Thanks for reading, Dave. Not sure I am onboard with your buy-back theory, I believe Flo is leaving for good and brunt a few bridges on his way out. My feeling is that Monaco was the destination of choice because they are not a direct rival, like Chelsea, and the player knows the league already. I wish him well but he won’t be missed, regardless of his development in the near future.

  2. Doug Carter August 28, 2023 at 6:02 pm #

    As soon as he made the demand for first team football the exit door swung open.
    I’m liking Arteta’s no nonsense approach to his players and this young man made some ill advised comments and will now enjoy the consequences. Quite why he thought Arteta would cave and put him in ahead of players who have worked hard and earned his trust rather than demanded it is baffling.
    Bon chance old son, see you on the flip side.

    • ClockEnd Italia August 29, 2023 at 12:33 pm #

      Thank you for reading, Doug. Fully agree with you on Arteta not rewarding Balogun ahead of players who worked hard, as it would have sent out the wrong message and potentially disrupted the dressing room

  3. Francis Redheart August 30, 2023 at 8:01 pm #

    Hello, after playing regularly for a season Balogun wanted to play more and not sit on the bench. He has made his decision and that is his choice. He is a little decent if not Arsenal fans won’t even bother about him. He also chose the USA instead of waiting for the 3 Lions to look his way. He seems like someone that takes his chances rather than wait for them.

    Comparison with Nketiah doesn’t really matter as they are two different individuals with different outlook about life. Balogun would have to queue behind Nketiah, Trossard and Havertz to have a chance to play for us. I would have loved him to stay but I understand his decisions.

    In other news, Palmer is also going for almost the same price even though he’s largely untested.

  4. Dennis the Menace September 3, 2023 at 9:19 pm #

    I don’t actually think Balogun is that good. In pre-season he fluffed his lines. In pre-season, Trossard looked so sharp that he’d start every game in the Premier League. Trossard hasn’t though and yet you wouldn’t hear him say he doesn’t need to prove anything. I remember Anelka too and he was ruthless, so talented and lightening quick right from the word go. Balogun doesn’t have that level of skill or ruthlessness and he certainly hasn’t demonstrated them right from the start. I doubt Balogun will ever reach Anelka’s level.

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