By Kevin Campbell

9th Dec, 2021 | 5:47pm

Balogun 'has to leave' Arsenal after what Mertesacker said today - Campbell

Kevin Campbell has insisted Folarin Balogun “has to leave” Arsenal on loan in January.

The former Gunners striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 20-year-old will be “absolutely desperate for first-team football”.

As reported by the Evening Standard last week (2 December), Middlesbrough are “pushing hard” to secure a loan deal for Balogun ahead of the January window.

As quoted by Metro (9 December), Arsenal academy boss Per Mertesacker confirmed a loan exit for the striker in January is “likely”.

The youngster’s only Premier League start this term came in a 2-0 opening day loss against Brentford.

Campbell suggested Balogun is now “too good” to be playing under-23’s football.

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“He has to leave. He’ll be absolutely desperate for first-team football,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“He’s too good for the U23s now, and not quite at that level to go into the first team.

“For me, it’s a good move for all parties and one I would have done in the summer. As soon as the window opened in the summer, he should have been on loan.”

The 20-year-old scored his first senior goal with a strike against Molde in last season’s Europa League.

Balogun has netted 14 goals in 11 appearances for Arsenal’s U23 side in Premier League 2 this term.

The youngster is contracted until 2025 after extending his deal during the summer.

In other news, a pundit believes this Arsenal big name is fuming with Arteta – “there’s no way he’s going to be happy”.