Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun faces an uncertain future even though star striker Gabriel Jesus is down with a knee injury
There has been speculation that the 22-year-old American international will replace the injured Brazilian.
But Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta insisted Jesus’ injury would not lead to any changes for Balogun. He said the Gunners would find a way to “adapt” to Jesus’ absence at the start of the season.
Balogun, an Arsenal academy graduate, is reportedly unhappy at the North London club. He returned to London after spending last season on loan. The American demonstrated his talent, scoring 22 goals in 39 appearances while on loan at Stade de Reims in Ligue 1. But he hasn’t played a prominent role at Arsenal since his return from France.
Arteta has been reluctant to use him in the pre-season. Balogun featured against FC Nurnberg and the MLS All-Stars, but missed matches against Manchester United, Barcelona and Monaco.
Inter Milan wanted him, impressed by his form in France, but were turned off by Arsenal’s £45 million asking price for him. The Italian club were reportedly prepared to pay up to £35 million.
West Ham are also reported to be interested in him.
Interestingly, Balogun is said to have asked the Gunners to lower his price tag by as much as £10 million to make him more sellable. Clearly, he wants to leave, frustrated by his marginal role at the club.
Jesus’ absence from the opening match against Nottingham Forest (August 12) at the start of the Premier League raises the question: Who will take his place?
Nketiah and Trossard are ahead of Balogun in the pecking order, but there are rumours going around of a more tantalising possibility.
Romelu Lukaku might be signed by Arsenal to fill in for Jesus.
Considering Jesus’ injury, Talksport analyst Darren Bent thinks Arsenal should have chased Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea. The football landscape may change as a result of Lukaku’s likely transfer to Juventus, which is supported by transfer analyst Fabrizio Romano’s claim of a multi-year contract.
Bent, however, contends that the Gunners ought to have entered the contest. On an English radio station, he said: “If it was an option, I would’ve taken Lukaku. I know a lot of Arsenal fans are probably thinking, ‘absolutely not!’, but I think I would,” an article from sportskeeda.com shared.
Lukaku, a seasoned goal scorer who has scored 121 goals in 278 league games for Chelsea, Manchester United, and Everton, is stuck in a cycle of club changes, each of which is unfortunately accompanied by an unflattering undertone. Despite his exceptional abilities on the pitch, the striker’s path sees him switch teams as the seasons progress, raising concerns about the interesting dynamics that drive his movements.
Former Premier League great backs Arsenal’s new acquisition, prolific playmaker Declan Rice, to soon become the club captain: “He is born for that.”