19 year old Folarin Balogun has been a stand-out performer at youth level for Arsenal, with an impressive goalscoring record.
However, where his future lies has been a bit of an open question for some time. This summer there were attempts by Sheffield United and Brentford to sign him which were rebuffed by the Gunners.
Last night, during the 3-0 win over Dundalk, he made his full debut for the club, and afterwards Mikel Arteta made it clear he wants the striker to stay in North London.
“He’s a player that I really like,” said the Arsenal boss. “Obviously I’ve got this situation and I believe it’s later than what I would like because I wasn’t here when everything started to develop but yes, he’s a player that I would like to give chances to.
“That’s why he was in the squad today and I showed him that yes, we count on him and we believe in him and if he wants, he’s going to have a future in the club.”
The situation Arteta mention is that the player’s contract expires in 2021, so giving him minutes and demonstrating that he’s got a chance will go some way to convincing him to sign new terms.
Balogun himself was delighted to have finally got some playing time at senior level, telling the official site, “It feels great. It’s a moment I have been waiting for a little while so to finally get it feels great.
“I can only thank Mikel and the staff for this opportunity and I look forward to doing it more often.
“It’s been tough, I’ve been at a few other clubs doing trials and stuff like that, but I’ve been working my way through the academy and I think as time has gone on I’ve become a better player.
“I think that’s shown in my performances and I think it’s good now to get the recognition that my performances deserve.”
He an exciting prospect and an interesting player, so let’s keep fingers crossed more involvement in the Europa League will let him see there’s a pathway for him at Arsenal.