From Eddie Nketiah to Reiss Nelson, there are plenty of promising talents coming through the Arsenal u23s at the moment. Could Folarin Balogun be the next to shine?
Balogun, who is just 16 years old, currently plays with the Arsenal u18s. In the younger age group, he’s really making a name for himself this season. He’s scored nine goals and assisted two in 12 appearances, including five goal contributions in his last two matches.
That form has seen him on the bench for the u23s fairly often, with three very brief substitute appearances. He also made one start for the team, the week Nketiah made his senior debut against Norwich City.
Now, he might get a few more opportunities. Stephy Mavididi is still out on loan, and Chuba Akpom got a temporary move in January.
In the first-team, Olivier Giroud left for Chelsea, and Alexandre Lacazette is out injured for four-to-six weeks.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined in Giroud’s place, but he can’t play in the Europa League.
As a result, Danny Welbeck is the only senior striker available for the round-of-32, and the round-of-16 as well if Arsenal make it through.
Eddie Nketiah will almost certainly get a call up as a back-up, or to start himself, leaving a space in the u23s.
If Balogun can carry his impressive form into the top academy side, maybe he can nail down a regular spot. He’s still very young, so he has time to work his way up either way. Still, if he gets an opportunity, let’s see if he can take it.