There’s still no progress on a new contract for Folarin Balogun, who is open to a move abroad if he doesn’t extend his deal, according to a report.
The Beautiful Game Podcast report that as things stand, there’s no progress in talks between Arsenal and Folarin Balogun over a new contract.
The player is attracting interest from Germany and Italy, and he’s open to a move abroad if he doesn’t extend his deal. Given that his current contract expires at the end of the season, he can sign a pre-contract agreement in January if he wants to.
Despite making four substitute appearances with the Arsenal first team in the Europa League group stage, Balogun is still featuring more regularly with the u23s for now. He scored against Leicester City at the weekend, his sixth goal contribution in 10 PL2 games this season.
Arguably, the 19-year-old has been more impressive with the first team. In just 61 minutes on the pitch for Mikel Arteta, he has two goals and one assist. But it hasn’t led to opportunities in domestic competition just yet.
I’ve said from the start that I think all sides have a share of the blame for the situation so far.
Arteta could obviously be giving Balogun more chances, and we know Arsenal’s hierarchy screwed up negotiations early this year. At the same time, Balogun’s camp put them in a difficult situation from the start.
Normally, players sign their first professional contracts right after they turn 17 (July 2018 in this case), but Balogun delayed his for months before eventually signing in February 2019.
You can’t sign for longer than three years with your first professional contract, so he could only commit to 2021. As a result, Arsenal basically had to push him to sign another contract immediately after his first one.
Again, Balogun delayed, until Arsenal’s negotiator Huss Fahmy lost patience and ended talks in early 2020.
That decision was undoubtedly on Fahmy, and it led to half a year of wasted time with Balogun being excluded when he should’ve been getting chances. But in Fahmy’s defence, you can see why he might’ve felt they were being messed around.
It’s not like this situation snuck up on Arsenal when they weren’t paying attention. They know how good Balogun is, they want him to sign, they just don’t seem capable of getting it done.
It’s certainly a great source of frustration for Arsenal fans right now.