Report: Striker closing in on Arsenal exit, deal could be confirmed on Tuesday

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Folarin Balogun has shown a lot of potential in the U23s this season but hasn’t been given much of a look-in for the first-team, so Arsenal are sanctioning a loan move away for the 20-year-old.

Fabrizio Romano of Sky Sports and the Guardian confirmed on Monday that the Gunners agreed a deal with Middlesbrough that will see Balogun spend the second half of the season at the Riverside Stadium.

Talks between Arsenal and Middlesbrough have been going on for nearly a week and all that is left to do is his medical before official confirmation comes. It’s a good move for all parties, as Balogun continues his development and gets first-team football while Boro bolster their fledgling attack.

Balogun has scored 38 goals with eight assists in 41 games for the U18s, scored 37 goals with 10 assists in 62 games for the U23s and scored two goals with one assist in 10 games under Arteta. The England U21 international has proven youth football is beneath him, so he needs minutes at senior level.

Unfortunately, Balogun has found himself behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah in the pecking order, so opportunities have been few and far between. The 20-year-old is joining an in-form side in Middlesbrough and can hopefully fill a void in attack.

Boro are fifth in the Championship for shots per game (12.1) but 11th for goals scored (29) while having only one player in the squad with more than four league goals to their name (Andraz Sporar), so Balogun might have a chance of playing more regularly.

He’s shown himself to be a prolific striker which is exactly what Middlesbrough need, so Balogun could be thrown in the deep end against Reading on Saturday afternoon if his loan move goes through in time. Chris Wilder should be delighted to have a player of Balogun’s ability.