Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is reportedly close to joining Championship side Middlesbrough on a loan until the end of the season. The north-eastern club is anticipated to pay Balogon his full wage, instead of Arsenal covering a certain proportion.
The 20-year-old signed a four-year contract extension in April 2021 due to a strong belief held by Mikel Arteta and the echelon above that he is a talent for the future.
However, with limited game time this season, Balogun needs first-team football to develop to the high standards regarded at his parent club.
Folarin Balogun Close to Joining Middlesbrough on Loan
Balogun’s short-term departure from Arsenal will be an important moment in his youthful career. Having spent twelve years growing up in the Arsenal academy, the English forward has not yet adventured elsewhere – something that is clearly needed for him to break through as a regular member of Arsenal’s senior squad.
This season, Balogun has appeared in just four matches one of which was the first league game where Arsenal’s ranks were depleted due to a Covid-19 outbreak and injuries. Alexander Lacezette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were unavailable and Bukoyo Saka was not ready to play following England’s European Championships campaign. This left Balogun to make his first career start and for fellow young star Gabriel Martinelli to support him on the left. In total, the striker has recorded just 133 minutes for the first team.
Unsurprisingly, this is not good enough when his record in Premier League 2 is so impressive. He has scored 13 goals and 3 assists in just eleven matches. He has also scored two in two in the EFL Trophy.
How he performs at Middlesbrough will be watched closely by Arsenal fans and Arteta alike. Boro manager Chris Wilder will be trusted to get the best out of Balogun in the coming months. One area, in particular, will be developing his footballing personality to a greater level.
Added Boost to Middlesbrough Resurgence
Since sacking Neil Warnock and hiring Wilder, Middlesbrough have resurged from 15th to 7th in the table. The turnaround in form has been drastic with just one loss in nine games and five wins in six. This includes back-to-back wins against Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest.
Balogun’s arrival will give Middlesbrough additional firepower in the hope that the weight of scoring goals can be shifted from the likes of Andraz Sporar and Matt Crooks.
Ensuring Balogun delivers is of great significance to Middlesbrough. Not only because he is an added boost to their promotion seeking campaign, but because his reported wage is around £40,000. This is a big financial burden for a Championship club that recorded a £36 million loss and a wage to turnover ratio of 160% last season – the 5th joint highest in the division.