The demands are high
Folarin Balogun and Arsenal have been in negotiations over a new deal for some time. Mikel Arteta has assured fans that the player wants to remain at Arsenal, and that talks are progressing well.
“I think I am pretty positive about it and every time I spoke to him, he mentions the same thing, that he’s determined to stay here and he wants to stay here,” said Arteta.
“He has some really positive conversations with his agent as well and [Arsenal technical director] Edu is in charge of that.”
“He’s been spending a lot of time and energy to make that deal happen because it’s important for us to keep our talent in the house, and what we can guarantee is that we’re doing everything we can to keep him.”
There have been suggestions amongst well-informed individuals that Balogun’s wage demands, be them his own or what his representatives are asking for, represent similar figures to those earned by the young established players in Arsenal’s first-team.
The guarantee of more regular senior action is also firmly part of discussions, but with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah all ahead of the starlet in the pecking order, it is tricky to provide assurances.
Why Arsenal should say no
Whilst it is important to look at youth academy products as strong assets for clubs to develop, keep and hopefully integrate into the first-team, it is also key to consider the long-term impact of offering such teenagers significant deals.
Should Arsenal cave and offer Folarin Balogun a substantial contract before he has even made a Premier League appearance, or convinced not only the supporter base but the club that he is in fact worthy of such a deal, it could have serious implications on further negotiations with other youngsters.
A young player in the academy seeing Balogun run down his contract, and at the end of it earn a significant pay rise, could think to themselves that this is the way to go.
Rather than allowing themselves to be tied down to a lengthy deal at a lower wage, using the example of Balogun, other young players would have leverage in negotiations.
Arsenal cannot afford to allow a youngster and their representatives to dictate and strong-arm the club into providing inflated deals.
It might be that the Gunners lose Balogun, and he goes on to become a top-class player elsewhere. However, there is no guarantee that this will happen. There is an element of regret surrounding the successes of Serge Gnabry, Ismael Bennacer, Donyell Malen and Jeff Reine-Adelaide, but these are still a small percentage when it comes to the wider, lesser spoken of context.
For every promising player that has gone on to great things, there are plenty more who ultimately haven’t. Arsenal cannot afford to undermine their position and control regarding future negotiations by caving to the high demands of a player who is yet to convince the club of his true worth.
Arteta confirms that Folarin Balogun’s agent is the biggest issue in keeping the young Arsenal striker who ‘wants to stay’
Conflicting reports emerge regarding pre-contract agreement between RB Leipzig and Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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