Mikel Arteta has admitted in his latest pre-match press conference for Arsenal that the club have held ‘really positive’ talks with the agent of Folarin Balogun in a promising contract update.
The 19-year-old has been a major talking point for some time now owing to the fact that his contract expires this summer, with the bulk of the noise suggesting that Balogun is bound for an exit.
Arteta poured cold water on the notion that the New York-born talent was ‘distancing himself from the club’ by stating that Balogun is ‘determined’ to stay with the north London outfit.
Balogun has piqued the interest of 15 teams across England and Europe according to Fabrizio Romano, with Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Rennes named as suitors by the Telegraph and RB Leipzig by Football Insider.
After mentioning the ‘really positive conversations’ that the club have had with the forward’s agent, led by director Edu Gaspar, Arteta stated ‘a lot of time and energy’ is going into keeping Balogun.
Arteta reiterated that the Gunners are doing ‘everything’ they can to keep hold of the England Under-20s international.
See More: Arsenal ace Folarin Balogun shares highlight goal immediately as first-team lose to Southampton in subtle dig to Gunners
Mikel Arteta has admitted that Arsenal have held ‘really positive’ talks over a new contract with Folarin Balogun… pic.twitter.com/6rFlK7oWUW
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“I wouldn’t say so. 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 and he wants to stay here.”
“We 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 we can guarantee that we’re doing everything we can to keep him.”
Balogun has made just five first-team appearances this season, with all but one coming in the Europa League as the ace has managed to contribute two goals and an assist from his limited outings.
The youngster’s pathway to first-team football seems firmly blocked, if his more senior academy graduate Eddie Nketiah is not receiving the minutes he ‘deserves’ by Arteta’s own admission, it’s hard to see how Balogun can notch the action that will allow him to kickstart his professional career.
There also appears to be some serious mixed signals on Balogun, as the Mirror note that the talent has removed all references to Arsenal on social media, which appears to be an exit hint of sorts.