Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hails Folarin Balogun's 'unique qualities'
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hails Folarin Balogun’s ‘unique qualities’ ahead of imminent announcement over four-year contract extension, while insisting talented young striker will be ‘pushing’ for a first-team spot
- Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised Folarin Balogun’s ‘unique’ qualities
- The 19-year-old striker signed a new five-year deal with the North London club
- Spanish tactician Arteta praised Balogun’s work ethic and ‘hunger’ in training
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised Folarin Balogun’s ‘unique’ qualities with the striker on the brink of a new deal with the club.
The 19-year-old academy product looked set for the exit door at the Emirates Stadium with his contract set to expire in the summer, but he pledged his future to the Gunners until 2025, Sportsmail revealed.
After a series of strong performances in Arsenal’s Europa League campaign, Balogun has shot himself into contention for the starting place in North London.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised Folarin Balogun’s ‘unique’ qualities after new deal
Spanish tactician Arteta praised Balogun’s work ethic and ‘hunger’ in training
The Spanish boss praised the club’s Academy for Balogun’s progress at Arsenal and will be putting pressure on Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah for starts.
“It’s really important [that he signed a new deal] because it shows that he has enjoyed the time he’s been training with us and that’s why he wants to stay with us,’ Arteta told Sky Sports.
‘He sees an opportunity here to have the career that he wants. In all aspects, he knows that we trust him and that we want to have a future together.
‘Then, we needed to link that with the people at the club, with the right support from Per and the academy, and with the work that Edu has done over the months to undo what was happening and the direction the situation was taking.
‘He has completely turned that over into a position where now the player is going to stay with us.’
He believes Balogun will be putting pressure on Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah
Arteta praised Balogun’s work ethic and ‘hunger’ in training and believes he has a bright future at the Emirates Stadium.
‘He’s a very, very hungry boy,’ Arteta added. ‘He wants to do everything. He wants to practice more every single day.
‘He has unique qualities as a striker – his speed and the way he holds the ball. He’s a real goal threat and he works tremendously hard.
‘He will be pushing anybody in our first team to get his spot and that’s exactly what we want.
‘He’s got the chance; now it’s time for him to prove himself. We have to give him the right support, which he will get, and then it’s up to him and what he does on the pitch.’
Teenage striker Folarin Balogun is rated as one of the best young forwards in the country
Balogun is rated as one of the best young forwards in the country.
Prolific at youth level for the Gunners, Balogun has also shown his potential in his fleeting appearances for Arsenal’s first team this season, scoring twice in five substitute appearances.
He has also scored nine goals and set up two more in 17 games for Arsenal’s Under-23s in this campaign.
Balogun had been free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January and been targeted by overseas outfits including Stuttgart, Monaco, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan.
The possibility of securing Balogun for what would have been a cut-price compensation fee also tempted Arsenal’s Premier League rivals Manchester City, Everton and Crystal Palace.
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