Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has broken his silence on the speculation surrounding youngster Folarin Balogun’s long-term Gunners future.
Balogun, 19, joined Arsenal’s youth set-up all the way back in 2011.
During his time captaining Arsenal’s youth teams, the talented American-born striker has racked-up a hugely impressive 69 direct contributions in just 82 appearances.
After being promoted to the club’s senior first-team at the back end of last year, Balogun, who made his debut in the Europa League, has since gone on to feature in five first-team matches, in all competitions.
However, with his contract set to expire in six-months time, concerns are beginning to grow that the Londoners could lose one of their most highly-rated youngsters for free come the summer.
Addressing the speculation surrounding the teenager’s contract renewal, manager Arteta has broken his silence.
Speaking to reporters recently, as quoted by the Evening Standard, Arteta said: “If anything – regarding his contractual situation with the club – I just wanted to convince him that he has a future at the club, not send him the opposite message.
“Before he wasn’t training with the first team, we changed that and he’s been training with us a lot.
“He’s improving every single day, he’s showing a real hunger and decided to be with us.
“We’re trying to get something done because we want him to stay and we have to go step-by-step.
“I think he’s made some big steps in the last few months, where he wasn’t even training and then he had a few good games for us.
“So the steps are there in every way and we want to try to keep him.”
Arsenal will be hopeful their bright young star commits his long-term future to the club and signs on the dotted line.
However, after until an official agreement has been reached, undoubtedly, both Arteta and the club’s fans will be extremely worried they could lose one of their most gifted youngsters in years.