Folarin Balogun is keen to leave Arsenal in the winter transfer window for the sake of more game time as he has struggled to impress Mikel Arteta since being promoted to the senior squad.
Balogun signed a contract extension last summer after negotiations which lasted for several months that looked sometimes on the edge of breaking down.
The Hale End product has been in the dynamics of the first team since 2020 but has only made two Premier League appearances for the club, one of which was the 2021/22 season opening day loss to newly-promoted Brentford in August 2021.
He was a trusted part of the Europa League squad last season, however, and showed some of the quality which he regularly shows with the Arsenal U-23s, where he has been made to play this season since after the opening day.
Various reports now claim that the 20-year-old American, born to Nigerian parents but raised in England, is keen on getting senior team experience and as such, is seeking a loan move in January.
Three Championship clubs including Middlesbrough, managed by sacked Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder, are looking to have him in their ranks from January.
It is also reported that French Ligue 1 side, Saint-Etienne, is ready to challenge the three Championship clubs for his signature in January.
Balogun speaks up on his situation
The England youth international has spoken up about his situation within the Gunners squad
“I have played youth football for a little while, I have obviously scored a lot of goals at that level and improved at that level drastically from when I started,” Balogun said.
“I do feel like I am ready for a new challenge but I am not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I am needed at Arsenal then I am here and the gaffer knows that.
“I know the potential I could have and that I need to achieve is massive. I haven’t achieved it yet. What I see now I would just describe as glimpses, things that need to be worked on and can be improved.
“The performances I am putting in are all I can do at the moment. I know that I am going in the right direction.”
Balogun is inspired by fellow Hale End graduates Emile Smith-Rowe and Bukayo Saka who have not only gone on to secure prominent first team roles but also gotten England senior team call-ups.
“This time last year Emile was playing 23s football, so that just shows how quickly things can change in football,” Balogun added.
“I know that I need to be patient and I have complete faith in the gaffer. Whatever the plan is I will give 100 percent and I know it will work out.”
Arsenal look to shake things up in January
Balogun is not the only Arsenal player looking for a way out of the club.
Fellow Hale End product Eddie Nketiah is looking to leave the club and has rejected the Gunners’ latest contract offer to extend his stay beyond this summer when his contract runs out.
He’ll be free to talk to teams in January, and except anything changes, will be leaving Arsenal in June 2022 for free.
Alexandre Lacazette is also on his way out, as the 30-year-old striker’s agents are on the lookout for the best deal for him. Several clubs including AC Milan and Atlético de Madrid are interested in Lacazette.
However, 90min have claimed that the north London side are interested in signing Brazilian striker Gabriel Barbosa Almeida “Gabigol” who is looking for a return to Europe after a horror spell at Internazionale.
Gabigol is a central striker who can play on the right wing as well, a good replacement for the soon-to-be absent Nicolas Pepe.
The Flamengo striker would also have little problems adjusting to life at the Emirates Stadium as compatriots Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes will be there to help him adjust.
He could also be a fan favourite as he has admitted his admiration for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry many times in the past, and claims to model his game on the legendary Gunner.