Following a brilliant loan move to Reims in France, the taste of first team football and scoring 21 goals in a mid-table team has made many teams in Europe take notice of Arsenal’s young striker Folarin Balogun.
It was expected that the player was either going to out on another loan or be part of the first team at Arsenal, but Balogun made it clear that he would not entertain another loan move, and only guarantee of first team football at Arsenal or a permanent transfer would satisfy him.
This has forced Arsenal’s hand into putting the player up for sale. Arsenal have placed a value of £50m on the striker. While there has been interest from several teams across Europe, none of them have followed up their interest with concrete offers except Inter Milan. They are reputed to have offered £35m for the striker, an offer that was rightly rejected by Arsenal.
Inter are expected to make an improved offer for the striker, but their offer is still likely to fall short of Arsenal’s valuation.
It’s rather strange that when Premier League clubs are interested in players from other leagues in Europe, they are often quoted ridiculous values and most of the time Premier League clubs have to pay it. Here a top 4 Italian club pleading poverty over a player that has proven himself to be a good goal scorer with tremendous potential, but they want to pay bottom dollar for him.
Contrast this with Manchester United’s recent acquisition of Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta. The player is going to cost Manchester United an initial fee of £64m, with £8m payable in add-ons. A total fee of £72m. The player has scored 44 goals in 116 in appearances. Excluding his under 19 appearances and goals, it is 29 goals in 89 appearances, that’s one every 3 games (Transfermarkt.co.uk).
Folarin Balogun’s statistics are not hugely different from Hojlund. Excluding all youth games and goals, he has played 76 games and scored 30 goals (transfermarkt.co.uk).
The career statistics of both players would suggest that Arsenal are undervaluing the player. Granted that there is a premium often attached to Premier League clubs when they try and sign a player from a foreign country.
Arsenal’s fee on the player is not excessive and Arsenal must hold out for close to the fee that they demand for the player.
There is a danger. Although the player still has two years on his Arsenal contract, If Inter are the only club interested in the player and are not willing to meet the club’s valuation, it may mean Arsenal keeping the player at the club or sending him out on a new loan against his wishes. If that happened, the player is likely to become disruptive and will most likely then decide to stay until the end of his contract, meaning Arsenal are unlikely to get any transfer fees.
If Inter Milan are serious about signing the player they should be able to pay close to Arsenal’s valuation. They received over £47m for the sale of Onana. They have sold 8 players for over 108m Euros and brought 4 players for 30.5million Euros (transfermarkt.co.uk).
Folarin Balogun is a fantastic young player and it’s unfortunate that Arteta can’t fit him into the squad. He is good enough to deserve first team football. Inter and other clubs in Europe can see the potential.
If he is to go Inter Milan for less than Arsenal’s valuation, then the club must insert a massive sell-on clause and first refusal because the chances are that in two years time he may be worth close to £100m, making Inter a massive profit.
Premier League clubs are often viewed as poor sellers, selling of their best young players for less than they are worth. The same players then go for huge sums. Arsenal must not let this happen with Folarin Balogun.