For years we’ve become used to the biggest clubs stockpiling hundreds of youngsters in the hope that two or three turn into first team players, but that leaves you with 90+ kids who have wasted some of their formative years.
It’s actually been refreshing to see a lot of kids make the decision to leave the comfort of a nice contract at a big club and look to forge their careers somewhere else.
Angel Gomes walked out on Man United and is doing good things in Portugal where he’s probably done enough to force his way into the Lille team when his loan ends, Jeremie Frimpong is earning rave reviews after swapping Man City for Celtic, while Jadon Sancho is the ultimate example of what can be achieved.
These examples also show you that these players aren’t having to drop down multiple divisions to earn a chance – there are numerous huge clubs in Europe who will play a player based on their talent and not just on reputation.
READ MORE: “We just don’t learn” – these Arsenal fans argue about youngster as he reportedly edges closer to transfer away
Arsenal are no stranger to leaving themselves over a barrel with the expiring contract of a striker, so it appears that Folarin Balogun is the next in that line.
He’s very different to Aubameyang, van Persie and Sanchez because he’s still just a prospect so the immediate loss might not seem so dramatic, but they’ll be kicking themselves if he goes on to be a star somewhere else.
Fabrizio Romano has indicated that as many as 15 teams are looking to sign him as a free agent, but it also sounds like Arsenal have themselves to blame if he does walk:
Balogun always been open to stay at Arsenal… but he needs to play. This is the priority for Folarin and his agents.
If he plays more, he’ll be consider a new contract. If not, Balogun will decide among 15 clubs that approached him as free agent. Nothing done/signed yet ? #AFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 7, 2021
It shouldn’t shock them that a football player actually wants to play football so it’s easy to sympathise with Balogun here, while he did actually show some flashes when he was given the chance in the Europa League.
Mikel Arteta stuck by players who were letting him down week after week and Balogun was still no closer to getting a chance in the Premier League, so time will tell if they’ve really made a mistake in their handling of his situation.