Struggling Arsenal star told to leave in January as Mikel Arteta ponders transfer decision

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Folarin Balogun should insist on leaving Arsenal on loan in the January transfer window to further his development, according to former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell. Balogun has starred for Arsenal’s Under-23 side this season, but has been frustrated by the lack of first-team opportunities given to him by Mikel Arteta.

The 20-year-old came close to leaving the club earlier in the year as his contract ran down before the club managed to convince him to sign a new four-year deal in April.

He started Arsenal’s opening game of the season against Brentford due to an injury crisis, but has made just two substitute appearances since.

Balogun has netted 11 goals in just 10 games for Arsenal’s Under-23s so far this season and has caught the eye of new Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder ahead of the January transfer window, according to The Sun.

The young striker suggested he was ready for a “new challenge” after scoring his first goal for England U21s in their 3-1 win over the Czech Republic last week and Campbell believes he will get that at Middlesbrough.

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“I’m sure Balogun will go out on loan,” Kevin Campbell told Football Insider.

“A move to Middlesbrough would be good for all parties. When Wilder was at Sheffield United he wanted him on loan. Of course, Wilder has moved club now.

“Balogun needs game time. He needs to be playing and learning his trade playing first team football.


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“In all honesty, Under-23 and Under-21 football is not really men’s football. He needs to be playing against men.

“He needs to get roughed up a bit and understand what he can and can’t do. Only experienced players will test his talent. I think Middlesbrough would be a great move for him.”

Balogun has found himself behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah in the pecking order at Arsenal this season.

He has perhaps been a victim of the team’s success recently, with a 10-game unbeaten run meaning Arteta is happy with his current first XI.

And his comments last week hint at a growing frustration with his situation.

“I have played youth football for a little while, I have obviously scored a lot of goals at that level and improved at that level drastically from when I started,” Balogun said.

“I do feel like I am ready for a new challenge but I am not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I am needed at Arsenal then I am here and the gaffer knows that.

“I am definitely open to a new challenge but it is something that whatever that challenge is I will be ready.”

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