Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker says Folarin Balogun will most likely go on loan in the January transfer window.
Speaking at the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust Christmas Event, Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker spoke to Football.London about the possibility of Arsenal academy players going on loan.
“I think the closest, at the moment, to make that step is Flo Balogun,” Mertesacker said.
“He’s transferred into the first team dressing room. He still plays 23s football and probably most likely will go on loan in January because you need extra exposure to get to that next level so he needs to make that transition.”
Mertesacker’s quotes back up a recent report from The Athletic that Arsenal have decided to let Balogun go on loan in January.
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.
The article also mentions that it’s not clear when in January the loan will happen, because it may depend on Arsenal’s striker situation.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang going to AFCON and the transfer uncertainty surrounding Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal might need Balogun around for part of the month.
Kevin Betsy recently told the media that the decision on whether to send Balogun on loan was one for the club to make, but insisted his development this season is “there for all to see”.
The striker is up to 15 goals and four assists in 13 academy games this season.
Balogun has really found consistency with the u23s since September, scoring in 10 of his 13 games in all academy competitions. But now is certainly the time for him to make the step up.