Date: 20th February 2021 at 10:00am
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Former Arsenal youngster Benik Afobe has urged youngster Folarin Balogun to leave the Gunners in search of more regular first-team starts.

The Hale End academy star’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season with Red Bull Leipzig having reportedly reached a pre-contract agreement with the 19-year-old.

Speaking on the Beautiful Game podcast, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers forward has claimed the ace has little chance of breaking into the first-team picture.

Afobe said: “I think it’s the right decision for him to leave. The captain (Aubameyang) is a number nine, the other number nine is top goalscorer this season, Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah is a couple of years older than him and has also done well.”

Should Balogun be given some opportunities in the first-team?

Yes

Yes

No

No

“If you want to keep waiting for your chance, before you know it you’re 23, and teams, managers will start picking up players who are more experienced in the Championship, who have 100 appearances to their name, instead of the guy from Arsenal who has played for England Under-19’s.”

If Balogun harbours any real hope of enjoying an elongated career at the top of European football, he’d stay in north London under Mikel Arteta’s stewardship.

The Spaniard has shown in his limited time in management that he has the ability to develop young players as seen by the

It’s easy to see the negatives of not making the first-team squad, however, the 19-year-old needs to remember he’s incredibly young and will get his chances in the future.

It seems as though the steep rise of stars like Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe has heightened the expectancy of many youngsters across Europe. Some players could feel like, given the same opportunities, they can make similar impacts.

However, they fail to ascertain that the trio are a rare breed of stars who enjoy such sensational careers at such young ages. How many youngsters have left Arsenal at incredibly young ages and gone on to enjoy mass success? The answer is one, Serge Gnabry. He’s the only player in recent memory, who has left the club at a young age and gone on to conquer all odds.

The motivation to leave in search of first-team starts is high in the mind of Balogun, however, patience may well be the best bet especially with Arteta at the helm in N5.

In other news, one Arsenal player has suffered racist abuse despite not being in the squad for the last three games.