Mikel Arteta says the club have had positive conversations with Folarin Balogun and his agent, and they’re working to extend his deal.

Folarin Balogun of Arsenal celebrates his goal during the UEFA Europa League match between Molde and Arsenal on November 26, 2020 in Molde. Photo: Marius Simensen / BILDBYRAN
Folarin Balogun of Arsenal celebrates his goal during the UEFA Europa League match between Molde and Arsenal on November 26, 2020, in Molde. Photo: Marius Simensen / BILDBYRAN

With only a few months left on his Arsenal contract, Folarin Balogun is in negotiations with the club over an extension. Those negotiations have been going on for a very long time now with little progress, leading to speculation about a summer exit.

Folarin Balogun of Arsenal scores during the UEFA Europa League match between Molde and Arsenal on November 26, 2020 in Molde. Photo: Marius Simensen / BILDBYRAN

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Folarin Balogun deleted or hid all but three of his Instagram posts amid an absence from action and speculation around his future.

This speculation only increased when Balogun recently deleted or hid all of his Instagram posts, as well as removing his profile picture.

Asked whether this was a sign of the player distancing himself from the club, Arteta insisted otherwise.

“I wouldn’t say so,” Arteta said. “I think I am pretty positive about it and every time I spoke to him, he mentions the same thing, that he’s determined to stay here, that he wants to stay here.

“We have had some really positive conversations with his agent as well and Edu is in charge of that.

“He’s been spending a lot of time and energy to make that deal happen because it’s important for us to keep our talent in the house, and what we can guarantee is that we’re doing everything we can to keep him.”

Arteta has consistently told the media that Balogun wants to stay, but so far that public optimism hasn’t changed anything about the situation. He’s still out of contract in a few months and still drawing interest from other clubs.

Balogun was nominated for the Premier League 2’s Player of the Month award in both December and January, though he had a tougher time in February.

He hasn’t made the last couple of u23 squads, with no official update on why, but some speculation he’s injured. We’ll see if he’s back involved again when they face Southampton on Friday.

He wants to stay: Arteta’s previous update on Folarin Balogun

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal scores their sides fourth goal past Gary Rogers of Dundalk during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Dundalk FC and Arsenal FC at Aviva Stadium on December 10, 2020. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND: Folarin Balogun of Arsenal scores their sides fourth goal past Gary Rogers of Dundalk during the UEFA Europa League Group B stage match between Dundalk FC and Arsenal FC at Aviva Stadium on December 10, 2020. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Speaking two weeks ago, Mikel Arteta said he was still positive that Folarin Balogun is going to remain with Arsenal beyond this summer, despite the player’s contract situation.

As most Arsenal fans will know by now, Folarin Balogun is only months from the end of his contract with the club. They’ve been in talks with him on-and-off for over a year, but without reaching an agreement on an extension.

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 01: Matteo Guendouzi of Hertha BSC is challenged by Felix Klaus of VfL Wolfsburg during the Bundesliga match between Hertha BSC and VfL Wolfsburg at Olympiastadion on November 01, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

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The club are trying to hold onto him, to the extent that they didn’t sell in the summer or in January – risking losing him for a training compensation fee. Yet the rumours are growing that he’s set for an exit in the summer.

Mikel Arteta denies those reports, insisting he’s positive the striker will stay with Arsenal and still wants to be in North London.

“No, I’m still very positive that Flo is going to stay with us and it’s what we’re trying to do as a club, and it’s what I’m trying to do as a manager,” Arteta said.

“As far as I know from last week, the player wants to be here, so I’m positive. I think he’s made some big progress in a few months.”

Unfortunately, reports suggest he isn’t going to get further chances in the first team until he signs a new deal. That’s put the two parties in a bit of a stand-off, as Balogun doesn’t want to sign unless he knows he’ll get chances.

You can understand Arsenal’s position, as they don’t want to use up valuable senior minutes developing a player who wants out. For the time being, Balogun is stuck trying to prove himself in the u23s – where he’s just earned a PL2 Player of the Month nomination.

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BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal applauds fans after his sides draw in the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on October 02, 2021 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

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