Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith believes a loan move would be the correct next step for Folarin Balogun in the January transfer window.
There’s a lot of talk about Folarin Balogun at the moment, after he hit 20 Arsenal academy goal contributions for the season in his final u23 appearance of the calendar year.
A loan seems the most likely option in the January transfer window, and former Gunner Alan Smith believes that would be for the best.
“I would say a loan move is the right call for Balogun,” Smith wrote (via All Nigeria Soccer).
“They see so much that we don’t and how he is during training consistently and a player like that, if he could go to a Premier League side ideally, and get regular football, that would aid his development no end.
“Even Championship football would be good for him at this stage because the step up from youth and reserve team football is very big.
“In his case, it looks like Arteta doesn’t feel he’s quite ready yet, so a loan move would probably be a help to him and to Arsenal. Maybe the time is now right, and they can get something sorted for him this January.”
Speaking at the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust Christmas Event, Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker suggested Balogun was the closest to going on loan.
Mertesacker’s quotes backed up a recent report from The Athletic that Arsenal had decided to let the striker go out on a temporary basis in the winter window.
There’s a huge amount of interest in him, but no decision yet on his destination, with discussions to be held between all parties involved.
Arsenal recognise that Balogun now needs to be challenged at higher levels.
That article also mentions that it’s not clear when in January the loan will happen, because it may depend on Arsenal’s striker situation.
There’s a lot of transfer uncertainty surrounding Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette, and even Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is starting to draw some rumours following the captaincy saga.
If one or two of them did leave in January, perhaps that would change the situation for Balogun.