Happy Friday to you all, and what do you know? There are a few things going on, some movement in the departure lounge. Pack yer bags, lads.
Let’s start with the news that Folarin Balogun appears to be heading for Monaco, according to various sources, including a late night OrnBomb.
🚨 AS Monaco close to reaching agreement with Arsenal to sign striker Folarin Balogun. Clubs still negotiating final price but 22yo USA international is now on course to join #ASMonaco from #AFC in permanent deal @TheAthleticFC after @FabriceHawkins #USMNT https://t.co/QR1JAnDdA5
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) August 24, 2023
It will be interesting to see what the final figure is here, once negotiations conclude. There had been talk of a €40m bid that was rejected, so I assume it’s a bit more than that. What clauses will be built in? Add-ons? Buy-back? I’m sure it’ll all come out in the wash. I know we have our frustrations about how we sell, but netting €45m, let’s say, for an Academy graduate who could have left on a free transfer not that long ago, is pretty good business.
Having done so well for Reims last season, it feels like a good move for the player too. I have to say I’m glad he hasn’t gone to another Premier League club – even if it feels inevitable he’ll end up back in England at some point. That’s just a selfish fan perspective, I realise, but that’s fine. He knows Ligue 1, he’s proven he can score goals there, and the south of France is not a bad place to live, is it?
Speaking of nice places to live, I’m a bit jealous of Kieran Tierney this morning and it appears as if he’s going to sign for Real Sociedad on loan. San Sebastian is one of the greatest towns on this planet, a genuinely beautiful place with incredible food, and the team play at a swish new stadium on the outskirts of the town. And it’s not all Spanish sunshine too, they get rain – which will make him feel somewhat at home.
I know he’s struggled with homesickness during his time at Arsenal, but hopefully that’s not something that affects him in Spain, if he ends up there. La Real will be playing Champions League football next season too, so it’s not any kind of step down in terms of his own career. And who knows, it’d be just the kind of quirk of fate football throws up if our paths were to cross during this tournament at some stage.
I am a little surprised that there wasn’t more interest from other Premier League clubs in Tierney. We heard about Newcastle, there were some whispers – but no more than that – about West Ham, but beyond that not very much. I know his stock has fallen at Arsenal, but this is a guy who made 36 appearances for us last season. His minutes were diminished, for sure, but his profile remained relatively high. I don’t quite know how to parse this lack of interest. Whether it says something about the player, something about other clubs, something about the market, or a mixture of all three, it’s hard to say. A loan isn’t ideal really, I think we’d have preferred to sell, but if there’s nobody buying – what can you do? I suppose you can question why nobody’s buying a player of his stature, but as I said, it’s hard to gauge exactly where the issue is.
Meanwhile, there’s good news on the fitness front as Gabriel Jesus has returned to training having been sidelined after minor knee surgery. From the training pictures, it looks as if he took full part in the session so we’ll wait and see if he’s going to make the squad for tomorrow’s game against Fulham. You never know, we might even get a bit more information from Mikel Arteta when he meets the press later this afternoon. You know how open he is about that kind of thing.
For some extra reading this morning, here’s Tim on Eddie.
Right, let’s leave it there for this morning. As you might have noticed there isn’t an Arsecast yet, but that’s because there isn’t going to be an Arsecast. Instead, we’ll have an extra Arsecast Extra for you, recording around 9am.
Keep an eye out for the call for questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you’re on Arseblog Member on Patreon, leave your question in the #arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord server.
For now, have a good one.