According to The Athletic (subscription required), as cited by Express, Arsenal have begun talks with Folarin Balogun over a new contract. The youngster, who was courted by Sheffield United and Brentford in the summer, has his contract expiring at the end of the season. The Gunners, however, are determined to prolong his stay at the club, with Mikel Arteta hoping that the forward will pen a new long-term deal.
Folarin Balogun: A Star In The Arsenal Academy
The Arsenal academy has made massive strides in recent years, producing a bunch of top quality players who are now plying their trade at the highest level of football. Bukayo Saka, in particular, is already an England international while the likes of Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are key members of the Arsenal first-team.
In Folarin Balogun, the Gunners have another talented youngster, who is more than ready to take the next step in his career. The forward is already regarded as the hottest prospect in the Arsenal youth academy at the moment, having performed brilliantly in Premier League 2 last term.
Although Balogun hasn’t been as productive in the ongoing campaign, he has still been involved in five goals in nine matches. It is combined with his wide set of abilities, including some blistering pace and overall work-ethic in the final third, that makes him a star in the Arsenal youth academy.
Does He Have Any Future At The Club?
Balogun, no doubt, is a talented youngster who is equipped with the ability to become a star at the highest level of football. However, his prospects of making a breakthrough in the Arsenal team aren’t as bright at the moment.
The north London giants already have a lot of options in the number nine role, including the mercurial Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese international signed a new contract with the club in the summer and given his poor form this season, it appears he is guaranteed to stay at Emirates.
Aside from that, Arsenal also have Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, both of who have been used frequently by Arteta this season. Although the former could leave the club due to his poor performances in recent years, it will only benefit Nketiah, effectively leaving Balogun as a third-choice striker, at best.
The 19-year-old did make his professional debut in the UEFA Europa League earlier this campaign. But, a move away from Emirates might be a more sensible move as far as Balogun is concerned, given the fact that the youngster needs more game-time in order to make his breakthrough at the highest level of football.