Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was quizzed about Folarin Balogun and his future at the Emirates amid rumours about the teenager signing a new long-term deal.
The Daily Mail revealed recently that the American is set to commit his future to Arsenal. Multiple other outlets have backed that claim over the last few days, and Arteta himself confirmed it this morning – well, almost.
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “We’re going to make it official when it’s official and everything is done, but as I said before I was being very positive that he wants to stay at the club. We want him to stay at the club so we are very close.”
That is a real surprise as many were convinced that Balogun would leave Arsenal this summer as a free-agent. Arteta, to be fair to him, has always been positive about keeping hold of the teenager, and he seems to have done it.
Asked how he convinced Balogun to stay, Arteta said: “Just by trying to, first of all, understand why he got to the point that he was really thinking about leaving the football club after being raised here and the feelings that he had built towards the club.
“Once you understand the position of him, then try to explain what you want to do, how involved he is going to be in the project and how. Then, get the full commitment from the club and support from Edu, who I think has done an incredible job as well.” (Arsenal.com)
The Insider’s View:
Keeping hold of Balogun is a massive statement of intent from Arsenal.
We’ve been mocked by rival fans and the media on multiple occasions for letting our best prospects leave. Serge Gnabry, Donyell Malen and Ismael Bennacer are just a few names on that infamous list, and it looked like Balogun would join them.
Thankfully, Arteta worked his magic. The Arsenal boss did the same with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last summer and he has done it again with Balogun now. Hopefully, he can use his fantastic convincing skills to keep hold of Martin Odegaard as well at the end of this season.