Zech Medley has the bench for today’s game
Highly-rated academy striker Folarin Balogun set to leave Arsenal this summer
The latest crop of young players to emerge from Arsenal’s academy again took their chance to shine as they triumphed at Sheffield United on Sunday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals.
Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles all featured at Bramall Lane and, along with Reiss Nelson, they have been given regular chances to impress at senior level.
But one talent who has yet to appear under head coach Mikel Arteta or his predecessor Unai Emery is Folarin Balogun and The Athletic has learnt that the 18-year-old striker is set to leave Arsenal in the next transfer window after a new contract with the club could not be agreed.
Balogun signed his first professional deal at the Emirates Stadium in February 2019 and with those terms expiring in June 2021, negotiations took place earlier this year to extend his stay.
Arsenal rejected a £5 million offer from Brentford for the prolific forward during the January window and it was hoped they could find a breakthrough in talks to secure his long-term future.
But despite a remarkable goalscoring record in youth football, first-team training and match-day opportunities have been limited and Balogun has decided his future lies elsewhere. Arsenal are willing to do business if a suitable bid lands, rather than letting him go for free in 12 months’ time.
There is interest in Balogun from a host of Europe’s leading clubs and Arsenal would be bitterly disappointed to lose one of their most highly-rated prospects. Having seen the likes of Serge Gnabry, Donyell Malen, Ismael Bennacer and Jeff Reine-Adelaide develop in-house only to flourish away from north London, Arsenal will not want history to repeat itself.
A small comfort in such situations has been sell-on clauses inserted into the exit agreements and Arsenal would be expected to seek a similar arrangement with Balogun, who has represented England and the United States at age-group level and is also eligible to play for Nigeria.
Bit much to call any of these ‘in-house’ developments.
Yeah a better wording would have been ‘Having seen the likes of Gnabry, Malen, Bennacer and RA leave Arsenal at a young age and flourish’
I don’t watch the youth team enough, but Jeorge Bird thinks losing him is a big blow
The Lacazette and Perez transfers looking worse and worse.
Yeah he is one of our brightest attacking talents in that bracket… the kind we should be tying down into their early 20’s at least - big blow if true.
Good luck to him