IPO Focus | Luke Thomas, Folarin Balogun & Liam Delap

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With inflated transfer fees just one of the many issues when it comes to the modern day transfer market, it’s no surprise to see sides look to their own crop of young talent as a way of replenishing the first-team stock.

With the Premier League no exception, here’s a look at three new additions to Football Index that could find their way into your Portfolio:

Luke Thomas

Project restart and the resumption of the 2019/20 season proved tricky for Leicester City as they suffered a drastic turn in form.

It ended in the Foxes missing out on Champions League football which before the season came to an abrupt halt, would have been unthinkable.

Whilst it proved a tricky period for the Foxes, the period did present an unlikely opportunity for academy graduate Luke Thomas.

It was a case of needs must when Thomas was fast-tracked from Leicester Cityโ€™s development squad into the first team during Project Restart.

Brendan Rodgers, who is known to show faith in young players, did exactly that when both Ben Chilwell and Christian Fuchs were injured at the time.

Ever since then, Luke Thomas has been in and around the first-team squad, instead of being loaned out to the lower leagues which was the initial plan for his long-term development.

Fast-forward to now in the 2020/21 campaign, Leicester City have impressed again and sit 2nd in the Premier League table at Christmas as well as finishing top of their Europa League group.

Thomas has gained much-needed experience being a key figure in Rodgersโ€™ squad amidst injuries in a compact season. 

The full-back has appeared nine times across all comps for the Foxes, even scoring his first goal in the Europa League to help see the Foxes through to the knockout stages.

Folarin Balogun

Folarin Balogun is a name Arsenal fans will be already familiar with.

Up until now, the strikers future has been a talking point as his contract continues to wind down, however, reports as of late indicate Mikel Arteta has been keen to keep the talented forward at the club with contract talks resuming.

On the pitch, Balogun has attributes already familiar to the senior coaching staff.

“I am the sort of striker that likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender and make runs behind them, similar to the way that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plays,” Balogun told Arsenal.com.

The young striker has had chances in the Europa League so far this season, with an instant impact on his debut against Molde.

Looking ahead, Arsenalโ€™s poor start to the season so far domestically has seen growing calls and pressure for Arteta to give Balogun more league opportunities.

Furthermore, keep an eye on Balogun to continue to feature in the later-stages of the Europa League next year and with strong links to sides elsewhere in Europe, he could draw in plenty of coverage in the Media Rankings.

Liam Delap

The striker, who is the son of former Stoke City and Republic of Ireland star Rory Delap, has grown in reputation since moving to City from Derby County in the summer of 2019.

Handed his senior debut by Pep Guardiola this season, the youngster was one of the talismans of Manchester City Under-18sโ€™ hugely successful 2019/20 campaign.

With one eye on the future, Delap has continued to impress for the academy since his exposure to the senior setup.


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