17-year-old striker Folarin Balogun has revealed he had a trial with Tottenham, who expressed an interest in him first, but he was thankful to join Arsenal instead.
Balogun was playing for Sunday League side Aldersbrook when he had a trial at Spurs, before Arsenal scout Alan Knowles spotted him. He explained the situation to the club website in a recent interview.
“I was really happy (joining Arsenal), but I was also trialling with Tottenham, who had expressed an interest earlier,” he said. “I had a six-week trial with Arsenal but had to keep a connection with Spurs just in case I didn’t get an offer.
“I was speaking to Spurs again but thankfully Arsenal signed me and I have been with the club ever since.”
Balogun is really starting to break through in the Arsenal academy. Only turning 17 earlier this month, he was already flying for the u18s last season, with 11 goals and three assists in 18 appearances for the team.
He also scored once in 192 minutes for the u23s, so it seems like he’s ready to make the step up whenever a spot becomes available. Fast and clinical, the young striker is just unlucky the Arsenal academy had Eddie Nketiah and Tyreece John-Jules in the u23s ahead of him last season.
In fact, he shares a lot of similarities in playing style with Nketiah, leading to Reiss Nelson comparing the two, saying: “Flo Balogun is like a young Eddie Nketiah up front because he gets into good positions and always scores goals.”
Hopefully Balogun can go on another FA Youth Cup run with the u18s, similar to last season’s journey all the way to the final. He has competition, with 16-year-old Sam Greenwood joining from Sunderland, so we’ll just have to wait and see how they both do.