Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Arsenal have opened talks with Folarin Balogun over a new contract, despite a previous breakdown in negotiations.
David Ornstein reported earlier this week that Arsenal are back in talks with Folarin Balogun over a new contract. Though there are no guarantees, there’s finally a ‘possibility’ he might stay beyond the end of the season.
After that, Mikel Arteta selected the striker for the travelling group facing Molde FK on Thursday. Another sign that he’s trying to integrate the teenager after handing him his debut last month.
Speaking in his pre-Molde press conference, Arteta confirmed the reports about Arsenal reopening contract talks.
“He is a player that I want to stay at the club,” Arteta admitted (via Football.London).
“You can see the talent is there, the ambition is there and he can fit with our structure and progress in the future. He’s part of the DNA, and myself and the club are working to try to extend his contract.
“We’re trying to change the situation that we are in at the moment with him, and trying to convince him that this is the right place for him.”
Back in June, it seemed like the situation was at a complete dead end. At that point, Ornstein reported that talks were off and the player would likely leave in the summer. On Wednesday, one journalist asked Arteta what changed.
“I have decided that I want to keep the player,” Arteta replied.
“The moment that I started to see more of the player and change certain things that I didn’t agree with, we decided to give it a go, tried to convince the player, try to show him what we want to do with him, why he fits in with what we are trying to do at the club.”
There’s still clearly some work to do. As Arteta said, they’re trying to change the current situation, which implies the current situation is one where he isn’t signing a new deal.
Arteta will hope Balogun’s integration with the first-team will show him what they’ve been trying to tell him, that he has a chance to make it as a starter for Arsenal. We’ll see if that’s enough.