Football News

Emmanuel Petit: Arsenal should sell Folarin Balogun

By Ben Green

Published: 15:08, 29 May 2023

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes the Gunners should sell Folarin Balogun this summer, despite the 21-year-old’s breakthrough season on loan at Reims.

Balogun has enjoyed a stellar 2022/23 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune under upcoming English tactician Will Still, netting 20 Ligue 1 goals in 36 appearances, which is the joint fourth-most of any player in the French top flight this season.

No U21 player has scored more goals than him in Europe’s top five leagues, underlining his potency and cut-throat devastation in the final third, which has naturally made him a source of interest from Arsenal fans, who are now clamouring for his involvement next term.

However, former Premier League-winning midfielder Petit has suggested the club should explore a potential sale while his stock is high.

Despite Balogun’s emergence as a prolific goal-getter, Petit believes he would struggle for consistent game time in north London behind Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, which would be detrimental to his development.

Speaking exclusively to Squawka (on behalf of Genting Casino), Petit said: “If he comes back to Arsenal, he won’t be the first choice, especially with Eddie Nketiah signing a new contract [last summer].

“It would be terrible for him to sit on the bench. He needs to go up, step by step — he has improved so much in France.”

Petit believes Balogun — who recently announced his international allegiance to the United States — would be better off staying in France and joining a club higher up on the food chain.

He continued: “If I am Balogun, I would go to a better club than Reims, with respect to Reims, and stay in France.

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“But if he comes back to England, he shouldn’t choose Arsenal. Maybe now is the opportunity for Arsenal to sell him.

“I like Balogun — I have been impressed with his season so far. But if he comes back to Arsenal, he won’t be the first choice.

“He’s young, he needs to play regular football, every single week. If he can stay in France and join a team with European football, that could be the next step for him.”