Arsenal are taking a firm stance with their wantaway young striker Folarin Balogun.
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners demanded a structured deal worth £15million for the teenage prospect as they rejected a £3million bid from Sheffield United this week.
The fee Arsenal are demanding for Balogun raised eyebrows, showing they think highly of the player and are not keen to let him go without a fight.
They also rejected a £5million bid from Brentford in January, with the 19-year-old rejecting a new deal as he eyes regular first-team football.
And whilst their firm stance has meant interest has so far been resisted, they will eventually be powerless to prevent his departure when his contract expires next summer.
With that in mind, it appears likely to be a case of how much they land for Balogun rather than whether he departs.
The fact they tried to convince him to stay before talks broke down suggests they view him as a player with a bright future.
And their firm stance to now demand a significant fee shows they are wary of the fact history may repeat itself and they might have made a familiar mistake by failing to convince a future star to commit to the club.
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Plenty of youngsters have left Arsenal having been unable to make their mark in the first-team over the years.
The common example is Serge Gnabry, who helped Bayern Munich to the treble this season having revived his career in Germany.
The likes of Jeff Reine-Adelaide, now at Lyon, and AC Milan’s Ismael Bennacur, linked with a return to the Emirates, have also flourished having not been given a real chance at Arsenal.
Manager Mikel Arteta is now at risk of seeing Balogun become the latest ‘one that got away’ – with Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder confirming interest from close to home from his side aiming to keep him in the Premier League.
“We made an enquiry regarding the young man at Arsenal,” Wilder said at a press conference.
“That’s been left with the CEO at our club and their football club. We want attributes that suit us and move us forward.”
With a host of interested parties, the best Arsenal can hope for is landing a sizeable fee with a string of bonuses so they are reimbursed accordingly if he does prove a success elsewhere.
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