Arsenal have restarted contract negotiations with young academy striker Folarin Balogun, according to David Ornstein.

Folarin Balogun on his debut for Arsenal against Dundalk (Photo via Balogun on Twitter)
Folarin Balogun on his debut for Arsenal against Dundalk (Photo via Balogun on Twitter)

Writing in The Athletic, David Ornstein reports that Arsenal are back in negotiations with Folarin Balogun over a new deal, despite previously calling talks off.

The academy striker has a contract lasting until the end of the season. Initially, it looked like all hope of an extension was gone, but Balogun’s subsequent reintegration and first-team debut certainly helped matters.

Mikel Arteta is reportedly very keen to keep Balogun, and his staying is now a “possibility”.¬†Arsenal rejected a ¬£5m offer from Brentford last January and turned down another from Sheffield United in the summer.

There’s no doubt Balogun is one of Arsenal’s top u23 prospects, and no one wants to see him leave. But until his future is resolved, everything feels like it’s in the balance.

The uncertainty makes it more difficult to give him consistent chances at Arsenal, it rules out any loan moves, and it must unsettle his u23 teammates a bit as well, not to mention the player himself. He picked up a red card for two yellows over the weekend.

But Balogun is still almost always involved when things go well. He provided two assists in the 6-0 win over Blackburn, scored in the win over Ipswich Town, scored twice in a comeback from 3-1 down against Manchester United, and gave Arsenal the lead against Brighton. And, of course, he scored with his second touch after coming off the bench against Molde.

That’s most of the good results the team have had this season. In games where Balogun doesn’t score or assist in the Premier League 2, it’s five defeats and one win.

It would be great to see Balogun getting into the first-team squad to face Molde on Thursday. Given his u23 suspension on Friday, there’s no downside to taking him along, and it may well help push negotiations in the right direction.