Arsenal finds itself at a crossroads with the potential sale of promising young talent, Folarin Balogun. Mikel Arteta’s strong attachment to certain players and preference for versatility over specialists have raised questions about the future of the young striker. This article examines the implications of Arteta’s decisions, explores the philosophy behind favoring versatile players, and discusses the potential risks and rewards associated with Balogun’s possible departure.

Arteta’s Loyalty and Player Relationships

One notable aspect of Mikel Arteta’s managerial style is his loyalty to certain players, often leading to unexpected team selections and tactical choices. The decision to bench Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a key player, in a crucial match, demonstrated Arteta’s willingness to prioritize his relationships with players over immediate success. This tendency raises concerns about the treatment of promising youngsters like Balogun, who may be overlooked despite their potential.

The Balogun Conundrum

Folarin Balogun has shown immense promise as a center-forward and displayed his prowess by scoring an impressive 22 goals in his first full season as a regular player. However, there are lingering doubts about whether his form will be sustained over the long term, leading to speculation that Arteta might be willing to part ways with him in favor of more versatile options.

The Philosophy of Versatility

The preference for versatile players like Kai Havertz over specialists like Balogun is a common approach in modern football. Managers often value players who can perform well in multiple positions, believing that the whole team becomes greater than the sum of its parts. This philosophy was evident in Pep Guardiola’s approach after Sergio Aguero’s decline, as he sought versatile forwards like Harry Kane and eventually signed Erling Haaland.

Havertz’s Case at Chelsea

Kai Havertz’s versatility was evident during his time at Chelsea, where he played across various positions, from center-forward to central midfield. However, despite showing potential, his performances did not entirely justify his £65 million price tag and hefty wages of £375,000 per week. This illustrates that versatility alone does not guarantee exceptional results, and specialists can excel when given the opportunity.

The Nketiah Predicament

Eddie Nketiah, another young talent at Arsenal, received his chances to shine during Jesus’ injury spells. However, his return of only four league goals suggests he might not reach his full potential at the club and could benefit from a move elsewhere. This raises questions about Arsenal’s decision to retain Nketiah while potentially losing a more prolific and promising striker in Balogun.

Balancing Risk and Reward

Arsenal faces a crucial decision regarding Balogun’s future, with Arteta and Edu considering bold moves in the transfer market to strengthen the team. While these moves could yield success and establish them as geniuses, there is a risk involved in parting ways with a young talent who could excel elsewhere.


The possible sale of Folarin Balogun presents Arsenal with a tough decision, pitting Arteta’s loyalty and player relationships against the pursuit of versatile talents like Havertz. The philosophy of favoring versatility over specialization is prevalent in modern football, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Arsenal must carefully weigh the risks and rewards involved in their transfer decisions to ensure they don’t miss out on a potential gem while striving for success on the pitch. Balogun’s future could be the litmus test of their bold moves, determining whether they lead to glory or leave Arsenal with regrets.


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