It begins! The wheels are finally moving when it comes to outgoings at Arsenal ahead of next Friday’s transfer deadline.
The Folarin Balogun saga has been rumbling on throughout the summer, with Monaco always at the front of the queue for the young forward.
Chelsea and even Spurs have been lurking in the background, but in the last few weeks it always felt like a move to Monaco was the most likely option as talks between the clubs continued.
It now seems that it will be happening, with a full agreement imminent. We wait to find out the exact financial details, but a fee of around the £40m mark appears to be what has been agreed on. It will be a club record transfer fee received by Arsenal.
The club had been hoping to get about £50m for Balogun, but when you consider he was close to leaving for free a couple of years ago, £40m can’t be sniffed at.
Look, it had to happen.
I know lots of people wanted Balogun to stay and play, but it just wasn’t going to play out like that.
He wants to start games. After the season he enjoyed last season, he doesn’t want to go back to sitting on the bench and just getting a handful of minutes here and there.
And he’d made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a new deal and that another loan was not an option.
So Arsenal had to sell. He only has two years left on his deal and if they didn’t sell now, his value was just going to go down and down.
Sometimes you have to reluctantly cash in on a player and that is what Arsenal have done. They have brought in a decent amount of money, which was very important, and Balogun can now go on and kick on in his career.
And at least we don’t have to watch him playing for Tottenham or Chelsea. This is definitely the best outcome of all of the possibilities.
Elsewhere, Kieran Tierney is on the verge of joining Real Sociedad on loan.
It’s a fantastic move for Tierney. San Sebastián is a wonderful place to live and Sociedad have Champions League football this season as well.
I’m amazed, however, that a Premier League club didn’t come in for him this summer.
Tierney is an excellent full-back, he’s just one that doesn’t really fit the style that Mikel Arteta wants from his side. So I really didn’t expect Arsenal to have any issues moving him on during the window and bringing in a big chunk of cash for him.
I don’t know why nothing materialised, but it is very surprising.
The deal with Sociedad is a straight loan for the season. It doesn’t include an option or obligation for the La Liga side to make the move permanent next year.
I’m not overly bothered about that. As long as those pesky injuries don’t rear their head again, then I think he will have a strong season in Spain and his value will stay the same.
So next summer, when he will still have two years left on his deal, Arsenal will still be in a strong position with him and hopefully there will be more of a market for Tierney than there was this summer.
It’s a shame how things have panned out for him at Arsenal and I really hope he smashes it as Sociedad.
This is the start of a busy final week for Arsenal in the market. Balogun and Tierney are just two of several players that have to be moved on before the window closes.
The futures of Sambi Lokonga, Nuno Tavares, Rob Holding and Cedric Soares all need sorting for a start.
Right, Mikel Arteta will be speaking to the press later today (1.30pm) ahead of Saturday’s game at Fulham, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
It will be interesting to see what he has to say about Gabriel Jesus’ fitness after the striker returned to full training yesterday following his knee operation.
And remember, the launch date for my new book ‘Revolution – The rise of Arteta’s Arsenal’ is now just six days away. You can pre-order your copy here.