Mikel Arteta claims Folarin Balogun wants to stay at Arsenal, after a goal for the first-team in the academy striker’s second appearance.
It wasn’t quite his debut, but Folarin Balogun made sure to grab his first goal as soon as he got a chance on the pitch on Thursday.
Balogun made a 16-minute appearance against Dundalk last month, and he got another chance to impress in the closing minutes of Arsenal’s win over Molde on Thursday. He took advantage within 37 seconds, spinning to fire a shot into the net.
A moment Folarin Balogun will never forget 🙌
His first goal for Arsenal on just his second senior appearance!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 26, 2020
The 19-year-old is undoubtedly one of Arsenal’s big attacking talents, but all the recent talk has been about his contract. He only has a year left on his deal, and for a while, the club had called off negotiations completely.
However, Mikel Arteta confirmed earlier this week that the talks are back on. He then claimed after Thursday’s match that there’s a willingness on both sides to agree a deal for Balogun to stay.
“Yes, [the goal] was well deserved for the boy,” Arteta said. “He is working really hard, he had some difficult months with all the speculation around him but he has handled the situation in a really mature way.
“He wants to stay, we want him to stay, we give him the opportunity and he took it straight away.”
Balogun should get further chances to prove himself in the next couple of Europa League games, with Arsenal already qualifying for the knockout stages.
They technically still need a point to top the group mathematically, but it doesn’t exactly look like Balogun is going to hold them back from getting one. If he can score another goal or two in the final games, that should be more than enough.