Arteta is still hopeful that Folarin Balogun will remain an Arsenal player

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald Updated: 20 May 2021 11:26 BST 2 min read
Arteta is still hopeful that Folarin Balogun will remain an Arsenal player

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has revealed he remains hopeful that highly-rated youngster Folarin Balogun will extend his contract at the club.

The youth academy graduate only has six months left to run on his current deal and has been constantly linked with a move to Serie A giants Juventus as a result.

Despite scoring three goals and providing one assist in his five first-team appearances this season, Balogun has been restricted to Europa League and Carabao Cup action.

That has led to the England U-20 international becoming a frustrated figure at the Emirates Stadium after being forced to watch his boyhood club’s struggles from the sidelines throughout 2020/21.

However, in today’s press conference, Arteta addressed the rumours circulating around the 19-year old’s future and continues to be optimistic.

“No, I’m still very positive that Flo is going to stay with us, and it’s what we’re trying to do as a club, and it’s what I’m trying to do as a manager. As far as I know from last week, the player wants to be here,” said the Gunners boss at a press conference on Friday.

Arsenal have struggled for form in this campaign and are currently sitting in 11th place in the Premier League standings. Their attempts to climb the table have been severely hampered by a lack of goals, with their 27 efforts equalling Crystal Palace’s total.

Experienced strikers such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have gone through tough periods this season, while fellow homegrown talent Eddie Nketiah has just a solitary strike to show for his 14 Premier League outings.

These struggles have understandably fuelled Balogun’s frustrations, who has bagged seven goals in 13 Premier League 2 fixtures. But Arteta has already shown that he isn’t afraid to place his faith in the club’s young talents after handing Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe regular minutes in recent weeks, and Balogun could well be the next star out of north London to become a household name, whether it’s at Arsenal or elsewhere remains to be seen.