The January transfer window is going to be a crucial one for Swansea City and it could help to determine whether they can kick on and secure a third successive top-six finish or not.
Russell Martin’s side endured a difficult start to the season as the former MK Dons manager tried to translate his shift in style onto the squad after taking over from Steve Cooper.
However, the Swans have been steadily improving and they are only sitting three points off the play-offs at the moment with them in 12th place in a congested table.
One area of the squad that needs to be addressed for the Swans to improve enough to climb up into the play-off places is their ability to finish off chances in the final third. That means a new forward player has to be on the agenda for Martin’s side when the winter window opens.
According to the Swansea Independent, the Swans have joined the mix of sides that are interested in making a loan move for Arsenal forward Folarian Balogun in the winter window.
That comes after the forward admitted to The Mirror that he was keen to get more game time at first-team level in the second half of the campaign and he is eyeing a loan move away from Arsenal.
The Mirror have also reported that both West Ham and Middlesbrough are keen to try and secure a deal with Arsenal for Balogun in January. While a further report from The Sun has revealed that Sheffield United are also interested.
So with Swansea amongst the sides keen on Balogun, we assess whether it is a good move for them, whether he would start and also what he has to offer.
Is it a good potential move?
This seems like an excellent potential move for both Swansea and Balogun to make in January considering that it would enable both parties to fulfill a real need during the second half of the campaign.
Balogun is clearly aiming to get more first-team experience under his belt after making two Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season in August.
While the attacker has also been handed various chances in the last few campaigns without ever getting a prolonged run in the team to show what he can do.
Given the style of play that Swansea deploy under Martin, it seems that Balogun would be able to get the sort of experience that Arsenal would want for him from a loan spell.
It would showcase whether he has the ability to lead the line and score goals for a side that build the play through the thirds and need a finisher and also someone to link the play.
Swansea would be able to bring in a player that could be capable of making a major impact in the final third, that comes with him having already fired home nine goals in eight games for Arsenal’s under-23s in Premier League 2 Division 1 so far this term.
Considering Swansea’s recent record in developing young players such as Rhian Brewster, Freddie Woodman and Marc Guehi it seems they would be a good fit for Balogun in January.
Would he start?
It would be very harsh on Martin to drop Joel Piroe from his starting line-up if they did sign Balogun on loan from Arsenal in January.
That comes with the summer signing having fired home nine goals in his 16 Championship appearances for the Swans.
However, you could not see Martin bringing in a player of Balogun’s potential and having him sat on the bench for large parts of the second half of the campaign.
Therefore, it might require a slight tweak to the current setup that is being deployed to try and get both him and Piroe in the side.
Balogun would only be leaving Arsenal in the winter window to get game time, so it would have to be the case that the Swans do assure him that he will be provided with regular minutes to convince him to make the move to them ahead of other interested sides.
As a result, you would have to assume that should Swansea sign Balogun, the forward will be afforded a lot of chances to start and become a key performer for them.
What does he offer?
The most important quality that Balogun will offer for Swansea is a potentially vital added goal threat in the final third. He appears to be the sort of forward that is not scared of getting shots off and taking responsibility of finishing off chances in the final third.
That alone would make him a much-needed signing for the Swans and if he did hit the ground running on the goal front then there is every chance he could help to fire them much closer to the top-six places.
Balogun would also bring an added air of confidence to the Swans with the 20-year-old not seeming to be a player that lacks self-belief and you could see him taking his chance and providing a lift to rest of their attacking players.
The attacker also has a lot of technical quality as well and he can link up with other attacking players in combinations in and around the penalty area. That makes him well suited to what Martin wants from his attacking options.