Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta revealed that exciting youth prospect Folarin Balogun has told him that he wants to stay at the club.
The 19-year-old scored a goal and provided an assist in the North London side’s 4-2 victory over Irish club Dundalk in the Europa League on Thursday night. This was Balogun’s third appearance for the Arsenal first team. He has scored two goals and provided an assist in these three appearances he has made for the club this season.
The New York-born striker is highly rated by the Gunners and the club are in talks with the player and his representatives about extending his stay in North London. Balogun was expected to leave last summer after it was revealed that Arsenal and the youngster had failed to find an agreement on a new contract.
The Gunners rejected a bid from Sheffield United over the summer and also pushed back an offer made by Championship side Brentford in January. Crystal Palace and Brighton were also believed to be keeping tabs on Balogun’s situation.
It was understood that the 19-year-old was not convinced about receiving opportunities to break into the first team. This season, Arteta has shown him that there is a clear path for him to earn his place in the senior squad and the young striker has taken every chance given to him to further convince the club and Gooners that he must stay.
On Balogun’s performances, Arteta said:
“Yeah, he’s done really well. Every minute he’s been on that field he’s been superb and today he looked a threat again. He scored a goal and set up another one, and he looked really lively and mature on the pitch.”
On whether Balogun will extend his stay at the club, the Arsenal manager said:
“Well, we’ve been having some discussions with the player. He knows that we want to retain him at the club and we know that the length of his contract at the moment is an issue, but we’re trying to resolve it in the best possible way. We want him to stay and he’s said to me that he wants to stay at the club, so hopefully we can reach an agreement and extend his contract.”