Monthly Archives: August 2023

Au Revoir, Folarin Balogun

Following a successful loan spell at Stade De Reims, Folarin Balogun made it clear that he wasn’t going to move out on loan, giving Arsenal an ultimatum to either play him consistently or sell him, which was really ballsy if you ask me.

Arsenal chose the latter and actively sought to ship him out this summer and as expected, there were suitors. Inter’s bid was really weak, AS Monaco tried as well, and their offer was rejected. There were also enquiries from Tottenham and Chelsea but with the window closing soon, Arsenal accepted a €40 million bid for Balogun, he completed his medical in the South of France, and has been officially unveiled as a Monaco player.

There has been some disappointment around the value of the sale, as Balogun as a hot asset that should have commanded a £50 million fee at the very least, but let’s put this in perspective – just two seasons ago, Balogun almost left Arsenal on a Bosman but he was convinced to sign a contract extension. Fast forward to two years after loan spells in Middlesbrough and Stade De Reims, Arsenal is selling the asset for €40 million and it has also been reported that a 17.5 percent sell-on clause has been inserted, which will see Arsenal make some good mulla when Balogun makes his next move from Monaco.

Balogun was further down the pecking order at Arsenal with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah, Kai Havertz and even Leandro Trossard all ahead of him, so his chances of featuring for Arsenal this season were slim to none.

It’s also worth noting that with Balogun’s sale to Monaco, Arsenal has now garnered £75 million in player sales when you add the departures of Granit Xhaka, Pablo Mari, Auston Trusty, Kieran Tierney and Matt Turner. There are more potential sales imminent, with Nuno Tavares set to join Nottingham Forest, Rob Holding garnering interested from Mallorca and Sevilla, then there is Nicolas Pepe and Cedric Soares.

With the transfer window coming to an end soon, Arsenal will still be focused on some more departures.

Au Revoir, Folarin Balogun.


Thoughts on Nuno Tavares Loan Move to Nottingham Forest

Premier League result - Arsenal go fourth and heap misery on Manchester  United with emphatic victory - Eurosport

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Nuno Tavares moving to Nottingham Forest was a good move for the player and the club. However, everything was thrown into limbo when it was reported that the player pulled out on talks with Nottingham Forest, as Tavares explored a move to Aston Villa and Sevilla. 

No bids came from the aforementioned clubs and Tavares was in the trenches, as Mikel Arteta and Arsenal moved on without him, playing three games in the new Premier League campaign, narrowly winning the first two encounters with Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace before dropping points in rather cruel fashion against Fulham. 

With Oleksandr Zinchenko, Kieran Tierney, Jakub Kiwior, Takehiro Tomiyasu and even Jurrien Timber all ahead of Tavares, it was going to take a miracle for the Portuguese to get featured this season, and the likeliest option for him was certainly a move away from the Emirates. Tierney recently made a loan move to Real Sociedad, as Edu Gaspar sought to further trim the squad on Arteta’s request, so it was evident that Nuno Taveres was surplus to requirements and if he wanted to resurrect his dwindling football career, a move out of Arsenal was the most plausible alternative.

It has been reported that Nottingham Forest has re-opened talks with Nuno Taveres, with a loan move mooted with an option to buy clause inserted. This means that Tavares has an entire campaign with Nottingham Forest to stake a claim for a permanent deal, and with the club playing with three at the back, Tavares will compete with new signing, Ola Aina, for a starting berth in the left wing back role. This was a role he thrived very well at Olympique Marseille, scoring six goals in 39 appearances for the French outfit. He would probably had sealed a move to Marseille but a feud with his manager, Igot Tudor, stopped that from happening.

Everyone at Arsenal wishes Tavares the very best, and we hope that he will do well enough to seal a permanent deal with the club. 


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Arsenal Holding on as Spanish Clubs Swarm Around

Arsenal's Rob Holding in action with Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland on January 27, 2023

After Mohamed Elneny, Rob Holding is the second longest serving member of the squad, arriving from Bolton Wanderers in the summer of 2016 for a fee of around £2 million. He was Arsenal’s third signing of that transfer window, arriving after Granit Xhaka and Takuma Asano, but Holding joined the club to meet Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers, that was on the verge of leaving on loan.

Holding was on the fringes for most of his Arsenal career, but he featured regularly under Unai Emery, before suffering an ACL injury in Old Trafford that cut his campaign short. He did well to return from injury to hold a regular spot under Mikel Arteta in the 2020/21 season starting 30 of Arsenal’s 38 Premier League games in that campaign, but with each new defensive signing, Holding found himself further down the pecking order. Despite Jurrien Timber out for a considerable chunk of this season with an ACL injury, Holding is still behind Jakub Kiwior, William Saliba, Gabriel, Ben White and even Takehiro Tomiyasu for a center back starting berth. 

With his contract expiring at the end of this season, Arsenal has to make a decision regarding his future – sell him this summer or let him leave on a free transfer at the end of the campaign.

According to transfer guru, Fabrizio Romano, Holding has garnered some interest from some Spanish clubs and he is set to end his seven-year association with the club this summer. One Arsenal player has already sealed a move to Spain, with Kieran Tierney recently joining Real Sociedad on loan, so it’s interesting to see how this develops.

I like Holding as a player, and I’m sure he has good influence in the dressing room, but last season, he became a lightning rod for abuse from the Arsenal fan base, as his arrival in the team following Saliba’s injury, coincided with the Gunners rotten run of form that saw them draw three matches on the spin against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton, before losing to Manchester City which effectively derailed Arsenal’s title challenge. Arteta responded with replacing Holding with Kiwior against Newcastle, but the damage had already been done.

Holding’s last appearance for the club was a five minute cameo in the 4-1 win over Chelsea in May 2023 following a Gabriel injury concern, and he has not featured ever since. Even during preseason, Holding’s only minutes came in the 5-3 win over Barcelona, coming on as a sub late on for Gabriel.

With Arsenal competing on many fronts, I expected Holding to stay behind and feature in the odd Carabao Cup or FA Cup games, but it seems the club has given its blessing for him to leave and Spain seems to be the likeliest destination. With the transfer window just days away from closing, one would imagine that Edu Gaspar and his team will be working round the clock to get this departure to fruition. 

If it eventually materializes, Holding will be departing from Arsenal after making 162 appearances in seven seasons. He won two FA Cups (2017, 2020), three Community Shields (2017, 2020, 2023) with the Gunners and he’d leave us with some good memories. The performance that would forever stand out for me was his defensive output in the 2017 FA Cup final against Chelsea.

I wish Holding the very best and I hope his move to the Iberian Peninsula is one he’d enjoy.


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