- 7 hours ago
Bullet dodged! Arsenal played a blinder with €30m Balogun sale
The United States men's national team star has struggled to recapture his electric form of last season at Monaco this term and he was yet again singled out for criticism by French media after his performance in the 2-1 defeat against Toulouse on 18 February.
He missed a number of chances during the game and failed to clear a 70th minute corner, which allowed Logan Costa to score the winner.
Balogun's poor performance was his second in just three games after he missed a crucial penalty in the Ligue 1 side's embarrassing Coupe de France loss to third-tier Rouen on 8 February.
The game against the National 1 side actually started well for Balogun as he scored the opener for Adi Hutter's team after 35 minutes. Monaco, however, were eventually pegged back to 1-1 and everything unravelled from there, with Balogun missing his side's fifth penalty in the shootout.
Balogun's goal in regular time - ironically a penalty - was his first in a competitive fixture since November and only his fifth of the season across all competitions. Balogun has now only scored twice in his last 15 games and only four times in Ligue 1 this season, boasting an equal number of assists.
It's a disappointing return for a player who tore up Ligue 1 on loan at Reims last season, notching 22 goals and three assists in what was his first season playing regular top-level football.
Arsenal's transfer blinder
Since then, however, it's been only downhill for the American. Balogun had wanted to become a starter for Arsenal off the back of his Reims stint but Mikel Arteta wasn't convinced, forcing the 22-year-old to push for a move.
After a lengthy saga that dragged on for ages due to Arsenal's hefty asking price of €50m, the Gunners eventually softened their stance and sold him to Monaco for a reported €30m plus €10m in add-ons and a sizeable 17.5 per cent sell-on clause.
Balogun thus became one of the club's most expensive signings ever, but he has so far shown little to justify that hefty sum. He still has a lot of upside of course and could yet come good, but it's clear that he has been nothing short of a flop so far.
Balogun at Monaco vs Reims (after 20 games)
“This is the first time he has experienced this situation," head coach Hutter said of him last month. "He sometimes wants to do too much and show everyone that he is a big transfer. He wants to score a lot, it's in his nature..."
"He has to adapt. He’s a young player that I have spoken with a lot. In a career, you’re not always at your best peak, so we have to accept this. Everyone can see he can do better."