This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Terrace Talk‘ series, which provides personal opinions from our FLW Fan Pundits regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Newly-promoted Fulham have been linked with a summer transfer move for Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun, per the Daily Mail.
The Cottagers are believed to be lining up a number of new additions to their side as they look to build a team capable of remaining in the Premier League, and Balogun is one player they are keen on adding.
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Balogun is currently experiencing his first loan spell away from the Gunners having joined Middlesbrough during the January transfer window, where he’s scored three goals in 16 appearances.
He has been prolific for Arsenal’s under-23’s though and Mikel Arteta will want the 20-year-old to test himself at the highest level possible, which means that Craven Cottage could be the ideal destination for Balogun in the 2022-23 season.
One person who is not a fan of a potential deal for Balogun though is FLW’s Fulham fan pundit Matt Baldwin, who thinks the Cottagers should steer clear of the England under-21 international.
“Balogun does not excite me in the slightest if I’m being honest,” Matt said.
“If you look at what we want to be doing as a club, we want to be building for the future and I’ve said in the past we need to start looking for five to 10 years down the line when bringing in players – that’s why I think Dwight McNeil is the perfect signing for us.
“But I think with Balogun there is also the sense of I want someone that at least has proven themselves in the Premier League and Balogun just has not done that yet.
“If you look at what he’s done for Middlesbrough this season, those numbers do not get me thinking ‘he is someone that if Mitrovic is injured or suspended for a couple of weeks, we will be absolutely okay in the centre-forward department’.
“We have Muniz at this point in time and it’s the same sort of thing – as the season went on you start thinking ‘if Mitrovic is out for a game we can do okay with Muniz’.
“In the Premier League if we play that scenario out again I wouldn’t feel confident with Muniz and I certainly wouldn’t feel confident with Balogun.
“So, I think if we are going to bring someone in, we’d want to have that experience in the Premier League, a veteran player as it were.
“It’s okay bringing in youngsters to bed through but I think there is that element where Premier League status needs to be secured first time round and then start to move forward and I think that in the summer of 2023, that is when you might want to bring someone like Balogun through, not this summer.”
Balogun certainly would have been expected to get more goals than he has done for Middlesbrough this season.
He is highly thought of at the Emirates Stadium and his first loan move away was a chance for him to regularly get on the scoresheet and prove himself to Mikel Arteta.
Even though the Spaniard has said he’s happy with Balogun’s development, the lack of goals will be a worry – it’s not like at under-23 level where it was basically the youngster’s playground.
Balogun does not seem ready for a Premier League move yet so it would be a surprise if Fulham were to try and complete a deal for him this summer.