Folarin Balogun set to leave Arsenal in January despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang problem

Arteta gives Arsenal team news before Everton clash

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Arsenal look set to sanction a January loan exit for Folarin Balogun – despite facing the prospect of losing captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang for up to a month during the Africa Cup of Nations.

Arsenal have a dearth of attacking options at their disposal right now; something that has forced the Gunners to turn more frequently to Hale End graduates Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka for inspiration in front of goal in recent weeks.

That situation isn’t set to improve in January when it’s anticipated that the club will lose their current top scorer, Aubameyang.

The 32-year-old currently tops the Gunners goalscoring charts with seven goals across all competitions; although he has been woefully out of form lately.

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In form or not, the Gunners skipper is set to jet off with Gabon to the month-long competition in the New Year – further restricting Mikel Arteta’s attacking options.

But that hasn’t deterred the Arsenal hierarchy from deciding a temporary move away for Balogun is the best option for all parties, with The Athletic reporting that the Gunners have given the green light to a six-month loan switch.

The exciting young striker has been on the cusp of Arteta’s team this season and was even handed an unexpected debut in the opening day defeat to Brentford due to a striker shortage.

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The situation is complicated by confusion over the long-term futures of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, who are both out of contract in the summer.

But that isn’t currently anticipated to hamper the prospect of Balogun getting some regular action in the second half of the campaign, although the report outlines that no decision has been made as of yet on a potential destination for the England U21 international.

After his shock debut against Brentford, Balogun has featured prominently for Kevin Betsy’s U23’s side, netting 12 times in 16 games.

Arsenal are keen, however, for Balogun to be challenged at a higher level ahead of next season; where it’s possible he’ll challenge for a more regular spot in Arteta’s team.

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Although the timing of Arsenal’s decision to sanction a temporary exit for Balogun may raise eyebrows, it could save the Gunners a long-term headache similar to the one they’re currently facing with Nketiah.

The 22-year-old striker has grown frustrated with a lack of first-team opportunities in north London and is now seeking a permanent exit.

The academy graduate knocked back a fresh contract offer last week and could be on the move in January if Arsenal wish to avoid the prospect of losing the youngster for nothing next summer.

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