Some Arsenal fans are convinced that exciting talent Folarin Balogun will definitely leave this summer after the forward has been left out of the matchday squad for the FA Cup tie against Newcastle.
Mikel Arteta unsurprisingly made seven changes to the starting lineup, with the traditional ‘Big Six’ placing little focus on domestic cups in recent years, but Balogun still couldn’t notch a chance.
The 19-year-old’s omission comes after the Athletic found earlier this week that Balogun is close to reaching a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club, with the ace free to leave this summer.
The Gunners perhaps only have themselves to blame for what it seems to be the prolific forward’s (at youth level) exit this summer, as he hasn’t been afforded much chances.
It appears as though there’s still some hope that new terms can be sealed, but only if Arteta and Co. promise regular first-team action – and thus the platform to develop – to Balogun.
See More: ‘Tierney is being run into the ground’ and ‘sickening’ – These Arsenal fans react to Arteta’s lineup for Newcastle FA Cup tie
Here’s what some Arsenal fans have made of Arteta’s decision to leave the talent out:
Yeah Balogun is gone for sure. Best of luck buddy @fbalogun67
— SwarnyGooner ?? (@GoonerSwarny) January 9, 2021
And where is Balogun
How can Arteta claim he will have a chance when he isn’t in the squad for Fa cup game
— Didi?? (@IamDizbit) January 9, 2021
— Ak Says #ENDSARS (@akachukwumba1) January 9, 2021
— Paul Asante Smith (@AsanteCR) January 9, 2021
Gnabry 2.0 pic.twitter.com/RZoYxTOO4W
— Legoteta (@Legoteta) January 9, 2021
Bye bye Balogun. https://t.co/ygkUVHWaLz
— Titi ? (@THAFC14) January 9, 2021
Bye Balogun. But let Arteta tell you we really want to keep him here ?? https://t.co/c46NJntUCg
— Kriss Kringle (@MrCJWright) January 9, 2021
Why play him when it’s clear he doesn’t want to sign a new contract..?
— De_Graft ? (@untamed_kobby) January 9, 2021
Whilst many supporters will be left bemused by Arteta’s decision today, there’s perhaps other forces at play that have hindered Balogun from getting a run out in the FA Cup.
Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains in the starting lineup, with the hope that a clash against a rotated Newcastle side will can get the big-money forward back to scoring after a dire season so far.
With Aubameyang starting, Balogun’s fellow academy graduate is left on the bench for a match that he’d otherwise have a chance of starting in, with that decision filtering down to the rest of the pecking order.
It’s arguable that the intense focus on Balogun’s future this week in particular perhaps hasn’t helped the England youth international’s chances of featuring either.
You really can’t blame Balogun for eyeing the exit door, he’s a talent that’s contributed 55 goals and 14 assists for the Under-23s and Under-18s in just 82 outings, but he can’t get a look in.
The prospect of regular first-team football elsewhere would of course appeal to a player in this situation, it’s his career at stake after all.