It’s over, it’s finally done. After months of speculation, Folarin Balogun is set to sign a new long-term contract with Arsenal, bringing an end to a transfer saga that has had many supporters sitting on the edge of their seat.
As reported by Fabrizio Romano, the 19-year-old striker has put pen to paper on a new four-year deal with the Gunners that will keep Balogun at the Emirates until the summer of 2024, closing the book on a drawn-out episode that, for a while, looked like would result in Arsenal losing one of their most exciting youth prospects for absolutely nothing.
Yet the best-case scenario has played out, and Mikel Arteta’s powers of persuasion have once again come into good effect. Goal report that the Spanish manager was key to Balogun committing his long-term future to the north London side, much like the former Manchester City boss was important to both Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing new deals last season.
Although Balogun has featured just four times for Arsenal this season, his two goals in the UEFA Europa League have already got many fans and pundits excited, with Martin Keown saying via The Daily Star about the teenage attacker: “I’m looking at him thinking, ‘remember the name’ tonight, really, because of the way he linked up, some great turns. You try and compare, is it Andy Cole or is it Ian Wright? There’s that sort of movement about him.”
With Balogun now committed to Arsenal for the long-term, now is the time to start planning his development accordingly and to start assessing the options that will be best suited to his development as a Premier League striker.
At just 19 and with the likes of Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him in the pecking order at Arsenal, Arteta and his coaching team will have to get these next steps of Balogun’s development spot on after the drawn-out saga of trying to get him to stay at the club.
And after impressing in Europe this season, the teenage striker could be well suited to both stay and fight for a spot in north London or take his talents elsewhere on loan for the year.