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The Ballad of Falorin Balogun


Many of us will have seen Falorin Balogun’s tweet mere minutes after our disappointing exit of the FA Cup to Southampton on Saturday. But for those who didn’t, he posted a video of a great goal he scored for our U23’s on Friday, captioned with a face palm emoji. While this may just be a harmless tweet from a young player full of confidence and eager for his opportunity, I think there was more to it.

Talented, Tigerish, Team player?

A lot of fans and even journalists actually seemed to enjoy the tweet from Balogun, claiming that he would have scored one of the chances that Eddie Nketiah missed and that he is the superior player to Eddie etc etc. Sadly, the game is now in the past so we will never know how Balogun and Arsenal would have faired if he was given a chance, but what we can do is look forward.

While many (myself included) think Balogun is the more well rounded striker and Nketiah still looks like a boy in a man’s game, the tweet massively highlights the immaturity of the U23 star. Your team have just lost and your strike partner had a bad game, so you feel 2 minutes later is a good time to post a video highlighting a goal you scored. Why?

For me, this was a clear dig at Eddie Nketiah and almost a throw down of the gauntlet by Balogun to say ‘Look what I can do’ or ‘This is what you could have but you chose Eddie’. Self confidence is a great and arguably essential trait to make it as a top footballer, but not at the expense of your strike partner and colleague. A colleague who never complains, will always work hard and never turns to Twitter regardless of his lack of opportunities I might add.

Let’s slow down for a minute. What if I, like many other Arsenal fans, are over reacting to an innocent tweet? This is a teenager with a massive social media following who has just scored a hat trick to further solidify his clinical record for the Arsenal U23s. Who are we to judge a kid who has worked tirelessly to get himself to where he is, and happens to be pretty good at his job? Can we honestly say that we would not brag about scoring for Arsenal and soak it up every second we could? Absolutely not , but it’s the timing of the tweet and the facepalm emoji that have really bothered fans. He may as well have captioned the video with ‘Sigh’ or ‘Maybe next time’..

As we all know, Arsenal are currently undergoing a major and much needed squad clear out which will continue well in to the summer, with three of our strikers at major contractual crossroads. Balogun currently has 6 months left on his deal and will be a free agent in the summer as things stand, while Lacazette and Nketiah will both have one year left.

For me, I feel we need to move on Lacazette so he does not become another ageing player on huge wages and that we need to cash in on Nketiah while he still has decent value, as I just think he is too limited being purely a poacher to lead our great club. This leaves Balogun, who I would personally keep as our 3rd choice Striker going in to next season, well I would have.

If Balogun cannot see that this is a club where he will get opportunities if he is patient, and that two of the strikers ahead of him in the pecking order could well be on their way this summer too, then why should we beg him to stay? As a youngster who has proved nothing in senior football yet, maybe he needs to remain humble and trust the judgement of a manager who has helped Saka, Martinelli and most recently Emile Smith Rowe flourish in our team since his tenure began.

Balogun is at a top club in a top city, with one of the greatest strikers of the last 10 years to learn from everyday in Aubameyang and a long term contract on the table to top it off. For me, if a talented but unproven teenager cannot appreciate these surroundings and wants to make sly and self centred digs on social media when his team loses a game, then he would be my first name out the door this summer.

Can you imagine the reaction if Mesut Ozil tweeted something in a similar fashion after we lost a game where Emile Smith Rowe played badly? Thankfully Ozil’s name will not dominate Arteta’s press conferences from now on and we can all move on.

Balogun has the world at his feet, as many Hale End youngsters have had before him, so it’s really up to him what he does from here. He can sign a lucrative pre-agreement with a German club this month with guarantee’s of game time if that’s what he feels is best for him, or he can knuckle down and work hard for the opportunities that will eventually fall upon him at the club he grew up.

I personally feel that he has already checked out mentally. So if he wants to make digs at his team mates on social media to make himself feel better and demand playing time for the first team when he has barely trained with them with for six months.. then good luck in the Bundesliga Folarin. No player is bigger than the club and nothing can ever hurt more than losing Gnabry for peanuts.. right?


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