Folarin Balogun has revealed the role Thierry Henry played in his move from Arsenal to Monaco.
Balogun was always expected to leave the Emirates Stadium this summer. After his prolific loan spell with Reims last season, in which he scored 21 goals for the Ligue 1 club, there was plenty of speculation about where he would end up.
Inter Milan were keen on securing his services, whilst a host of Premier League clubs, including bitter Arsenal rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, showed interest, too. Ultimately, though, Balogun has returned to France where he enjoyed his break out campaign last time out.
Henry guides Balogun to future after Arsenal
The USA international has also confirmed that Arsenal legend Thierry Henry played a huge role in helping him choose his final destination. Speaking to The Athletic, Balogun said that Henry “planted the seed” of the idea that he should join Monaco in his head.
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The 22-year-old went on to explain that after he played against Monaco for Reims, the Arsenal all-time record goalscorer “contacted me to congratulate me on my game. I knew he had played here and he told me a bit about the club and that it’s a beautiful place. That was it, really…It’s a good feeling to have the support of someone like him.”
Henry began his career at Monaco. He was part of the youth set up, and rose into the first team, at the principality club whilst Arsene Wenger was in charge. The pair were later reunited in north London, and together were at the heart of the most successful period in Arsenal’s history.
Henry will have recognised that Balogun had no real future at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta had a clear preference for the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah. The Gunners also needed to sell players this summer, and knew they could fetch a decent price for Balogun.
If things go well for Balogun at Monaco, he will partly have Henry to thank.