Arsenal could have a potential contract issue on their hands over the summer with the expected return of their on-loan striker Folarin Balogun.
What’s the latest?
The 21-year-old striker is currently out on loan with the French side Reims where he is enjoying regular football in Ligue 1 and he is expected to return to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.
However, with the likes of Eddie Nketiah currently shining under Mikel Arteta amid Gabriel Jesus’ absence, there will be question marks as to where his future will lie.
Balogun’s contract is expected to run for another two years but it is apparent the youngster has two hungry strikers above him in the pecking order in north London.
Indeed, speaking on the FIVE YouTube channel, journalist David Ornstein has suggested the Gunners may have a big decision on their hands as to what lies ahead for the 21-year-old striker:
“I think there’s only a couple of years left on his contract, so it’s a situation that Arsenal are going to have to look at. But clearly, he looks a top prospect who – for club and also for country, I’m sure – has a great future ahead of him.
“Arsenal will hope that’s with [them], but it looks like they’ll need to tie him down for longer. I remember there was a big contract story involving him, I was reporting on it myself, but we could be in that situation again, the way he’s going. And if Arsenal manage to hold on to him, it looks like they’ve got someone prolific on their hands for the long term.”
Decision to make for Arsenal
Having signed a new four-year deal in April 2021, it does leave the Gunners with a decision to make over the future of the England youth international.
As previously mentioned, the Gunners are not exactly struggling for options up top with the likes of Jesus and Nketiah playing a big role in the north London club’s success this season.
Prior to his injury in the World Cup, Jesus had provided a return of five goals and six assists in his 14 league appearances in the Premier League.
And in his absence, Nketiah has provided Arteta with a seriously impressive return of four goals in the league since the return from the World Cup break.
Adding to this, Nketiah signed a big-money deal over the summer which is believed to see the 23-year-old striker earn in the region of £100k per week.
Now with this in mind, it does seem as if Balogun could have a serious challenge on his hands if he is to return to Arsenal and make a claim for a spot in the squad.
Not only would the 21-year-old have to prove he is capable of outperforming the likes of Nketiah, but he would have to justify a decision to see Arsenal potentially reduce the responsibility given to Nketiah over this season.
However, when he has returned 14 goals in his 20 appearances in Ligue 1 – becoming the top scorer in the French top flight in the process – it will surely leave Arsenal with a welcomed headache of what to do with the 21-year-old.