Arteta: I’m trying to convince Balogun he has an Arsenal future

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Mikel Arteta says he’s still trying to persuade Folarin Balogun to commit his long-term future to Arsenal but admits it’s hard to give the youngster regular game time at the moment with other players ahead of him in the striker pecking order.

The 19-year-old continues to train with the first team on a regular basis despite suggestions he’s on the verge of signing a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club. The likes of RB Leipzig and Stuttgart have been tipped to snap him up when he becomes a free agent in the summer although Arteta maintains he’s unaware of a deal being done.

Asked if Balogun’s chances were being deliberately limited as a result of the speculation, the boss said: “If anything, regarding his contractual situation with the club, I just want to convince him that he has a future at the club. I’m not sending the opposite message.

“Before, he wasn’t training with the first team. We changed that. He’s been training with us a lot, he’s improving every single day, he’s showing a real hunger and desire to be with us.

“We’re trying to get something done. We want him to stay. We’re going step-by-step and he’s made some big steps in the last few months. He wasn’t even training and then he’s had a few good games for us. The steps are there in every way. We’re trying to keep him.”

Pushed to clarify why the Academy striker, who has scored twice in the Europa League this season, didn’t make the squad for the FA Cup win over Newcastle, the boss added: “Because of the competition we have in some positions, there are other players who’ve not had many minutes and they played in the FA Cup. It takes time.

“We have to respect that pathway. Eddie [Nketiah] as well is not playing a lot recently as well. He is in front of him at the moment. We have to be calm and respectful.”

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anonarse

Sign da ting!

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

FK Balogun

Francesc

Why would a 19 year old want to leave a club like Arsenal? What does he think he can gain by moving? Cant he simply sign a contract here with an agreement that he can go on loan, and then come back better and then establish himself first choice at Arsenal?

Robin

That’s easy to say from afar, but from his POV he sees players like Sancho head to Germany and thrive. Remember he’s the same age as Saka and Smith Rowe and they’re starting every week.

Personally I feel he has more than Nketiah, and he more than likely feels that way too. So to be behind Eddie who’s hardly getting minutes himself must be immensely frustrating. I don’t think we can criticise his thinking too much

Zet

Well said. And also the likes of Whillock , Nelson and Niles not given much play time too after signing on. But Balogun should have more confidence that his time will come once Laca or Auba are in the final year of their contracts. At current rate of development, he should not be weary of Nketiah being a threat. More likely influenced by their agent wanting to monetise their asset.

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

this is ARSENAL you don’t get playtime just for signing on, you get to play when you deserve to play and perform well in training and in games. Those guys you mentioned Willock Nelson Niles haven’t been performing well so I think that’s not a good example as for Nketiah he has had enough chances to prove he can play at this level for arsenal but he just doesn’t have what it takes I can spend all day criticizing his game overall and its not good so I won’t but he needs to be shipped out if possibly this window… Read more »

Once a gunner

I support your comment 100%, Eddie should be behind him he can run behind, hold up play, link up better with other players, is using his head is the only place he can improve just as all our strikers are at the moment

Niall

It’s an awkward one though since Nektiah has longer on his deal plus him and Balogun have the same agent. It does seem that there is a bit of conflict of interest on the agent’s part as he has to get the best for both Balogun and Nketiah

David J M

Would prefer to lose Eddie and keep Balogun. More potential.

Charles MMM

That’s the simple and honest truth that’s quite obvious too, but that needs to be handled in a way that it doesn’t look like Nketiah’s past contributions to the club is being looked down on. Wisdom but firmness is required here. Their agent should be honest to himself and to the boys and think of the larger picture, rather than his own personal interest/pocket.

Tosveson

Spot on. Eddie works hard and has contributed especially after the break last season.

I also think Balogun has more potential but Eddie earned his place and Balogun has to do the same – he can do this in Europa ans FA cup fixtures.

The real issue here is the agent who wants a move so he can line his pocket.

Cultured determination

Agents are never honest.

Daveo

I 100% agree.Sadly, Mikel said all the right things until “He [Eddie] is in from of him [Balogun] right now”. If we want to keep Florian, that needs to be reversed.

Jasonissimo

Then the youngster needs to impress in training. You think if he was torching the first team defenders and goalkeepers in training that Arteta would exclude him from the match day squads? I suspect he is lower in the pecking order because he isn’t as good at football right now as those above him. Arteta understands potential doesn’t win matches.

Daveo

I see it like this. Balogun has 9/10 potential. Nketiah has 7.5/10 potential. Currently Balogun is perhaps at 6.5/10 level. Eddie is at 7/10. Which player should you be giving priority too?

SB Still

Don’t know why we turned down £ 20M for Eddie, who we don’t have much game time for.

Plus, we could have used that to convince and clear-up space for Balogun.

We haven’t by Arteta’s own statement, started any renewal discussion with Laca.

For next season, we maybe left with Auba and Eddie, while Balogun left us and we are forced to sell Laca because he’ll be last year of his contract with and looking for the last big contract of his career!

I’m thick, I don’t get, our transfer business.

Kieran Tierney’s Tesco Bag

If only it was that simple!

Charles MMM

It can be, if the will is there.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Wenger talks about the problem of young players having agents and requirements before doing anything in the game.

MeSoHornsey

His agent has probably whispered in his ear ‘double your money and play elsewhere’ in his and his parent’s ears enough to turn his head. Ridiculous timing really as Arsenal are starting to look like a very good place for a youngster to burst through at present.

Optimistic gooner

I don’t think it’s that much about money. When you listen to who wants to sign him, RB not Stuggart won’t pay him more neither will they pay the agent more money than we can. I believe it’s all about Eddie. The agent, being the same for Eddie and Balogun, probably wants to make sure his clients are well positioned to get first team football. Eddie and Balogun can’t get it at Arsenal. Arteta be saying all these about Eddie so he believes Eddie has a future at the club and with 2 other senior strikers ahead of Eddie and… Read more »

Drew

The name Gnabry springs to mind.

Peter Story Teller

Give the lad a few games that might help convince him!
We have trusted Saka and ESR and look what they are doing. By all accounts this chap is cut from the same cloth.

Charles MMM

Fact. The few games I’ve watched him play tells a lot about his abilities, skills and vision. But he needs to trust the coach and the club (just like Saka and Rowe did).

santi's thigh grab

This. Trust is the grease that binds people together and allows relationships to grow. It would appear that Balogun doesn’t believe the club has his best interests in mind and the club doesn’t trust that Balogun will stay so he doesn’t get as many opportunities. Or Balogun is asking for too much money with no PL experience. Or his agent is telling him how much money you make as a professional over your career is determined by your first contract setting the floor. It would appear at this time Balogun is trusting his agent more than the club and based… Read more »

andresantos

grease doesnt bind things togeather you donut

Joe

no, no, no: trust is the glue that lubricates society.

RedHotHornBlower

A better prospect than Eddie imho. Laca will leave in the summer, Auba is 31, his future at Arsenal is very bright. Sign da ting.

AMN's cheeky grin

If Laca leaves in the summer, I think we will replace him with a new striker with more experience than Nketiah and Balogun.

I don’t see us going into next season with only Nketiah and Balogun as our CF (Auba and Martinelli playing wide seems pretty fixed atm).

For Balgoun to get playing time, he needs Eddie to leave (and take his spot as backup striker), not Laca.

Giuseppe Hovno

If Lacazette does leave in the summer then I think there is room for both to battle it out in the squad for the first half of next summer

AussieGooner

I don’t see the problem with starting him in the Cup. Enough players need a rest, he should be given a chance.

Martinelli, Balogun and Willian up front, Pepe as number 10.

He can always sub on Abua, Lacca and Saka if we need rescued. Don’t really see the risk.

Eddie should not be in front of him, he has had his chance tbh. Give the guy a go.

GraeB

I liked your post until you suggested putting Willian in!

Put Balogun up front with Eddie, I think they could work well together (as long as neither gets too greedy to impress) and Gabi wide in Auba style.

AussieGooner

Lol. I hear you. However, we are not getting rid of Willian so he needs to play. We cannot have another Ozil situation. Willian has to get better.

Charles MMM

I agree, but he should play the role of a sub (like in the last match).

Vonnie

Willian should replace Papa in the squad, then maybe we can cancel his contract by mutual consent.

Corona X

Willian should not be in any suggested line-up, ever. Apart from that, I agree!

Daveo

Shouldn’t be, but we all know he is going to be.

TomH

How to convince him… Step 1 – Get Laca and Eddie on the transfer list now. Step 2 – Show Balogun a piece of paper headed “Transfer List” with their names at the top. lol. Step 3 – Profit. Really though, I would be having a word with him, because there is no way we should be extending Laca’s contract. We cannot allow him to run down his contract and leave for free. Dont care about his goals or interplay in our attack now till the end of the season. We must begin to profit from our assets at the… Read more »

Billy bob

I actually want us to extend Laca’s contract by another year – he offers something that the others don’t or, in Balogun’s case, is too young to dump that much pressure on (next season ease him in)

arseblog

A player of his age usually wants more certainty than a one year extension

tom

Think its essential we cash in on Laca asap. He will want 3+ years and will be edging for significant increase in wages. Yeh Balogun cant be the only guy in there, and an Eddie, Balogun combo does not sound great for next season due to both being young and Eddie not really being great and looking distinctly limited. We would need to go out and get a CF in his mid 20’s as a bridge to ensure we are covered for Auba leaving in two years and Balogun building up his mins. Eddie currently would take Balogun mins away… Read more »

Joe

Dont care about [laca’s] goals or interplay in our attack now till the end of the season.

so, you don’t care about the actual football and just want to talk about “assets” eh? suit yourself.

St.macca

Why is Eddie in front of him, Eddie has done ok, no more than that. From the little we’ve seen of Folarin Balogun he seems a better fit for the style of football Arsenal like to play.
Recon that it may be to late but the bottom line is that if he does not get minutes on the pitch he will be off which will be a shame as he does seem to have something about him.
What’s more annoying is that I suspect Eddie may be sold in the summer and we will have to buy another striker anyhow.

Sean

Arsenal please don’t do this again. Please. I really don’t want to start another chapter of signings we let get away that went on to become great players

And there’s something in this kid that suggests if he doesn’t become a superstar, he’s at least going to get close. His style reminds be a bit of Drogba, just a BULLY. I see the potential in him already, I don’t see it in Eddie unfortunately. We need to start being ruthless like the other big clubs

Goonerrific

To be fair, that list is very limited.

Gnabry, I guess Fabregas and RVP, but I’m not sure we “let them get away”. Interested to know who else I’ve missed?

Hass

Bennacer, Malen and The Jeff come to mind to me. All worth at least 20mil and we sold for peanuts or next to nothing

Goonerrific

I wouldn’t consider any of those players to have gone on to become great. From a fiscal consideration you’re bang on though

Joe

bennacer has played >1,100 minutes for serie-a-leading milan this season (would be more but he’s been out with a muscle injury since the beginning of december) and almost 2,900 minutes for them last season. he seems to be pretty good for them.

if we can use financial value as a proxy for talent, transfermarkt has him valued at 44 million euros, which is the same as auba, saka, and pepe, and more than anyone in the arsenal squad except thomas.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Donyell Malen, Ismael Bennacer, Harry Kane.

DubGoon

Andy (Andrew) Cole

Twatsloch

At the end of the day if he’s not that enthusiastic about playing for us and needs convincing that badly then it’s better he goes elsewhere.

Make up your mind or bon voyage!

AussieGooner

But he isn’t playing for us!?!?

His option appears to be go and play elsewhere or stay here and warm the bench. You can’t for a minute expect a young highly thought of 19 year old striker sit on a bench surely?

Nobody should give him shit if he decides to leave, that decision is all on us.

Personally I think this is another Arsenal fuck up, it is ridiculous that we have been unable to give him 20 minutes with amount of games we are playing. There is no excuse tbh.

Charles MMM

Partially agrees with you, just to add that their agent is playing games as well. He seems more interested in protecting his own monetary interests than the boys (especially Balogun’s) interest/career. Time shall tell.

Biff

Is he on the bench?

Swerve

This guy has Anelka written all over him from what we are seeing, albeit I don’t have inside info.

Something tells me this would be an ongoing problem even if he does sign a contract if there are other suitors sniffing around at any time.

You can’t build a team on players that could bugger off at any time.

Merlin's Panini

It would be sad if we can’t convince someone who has been at the club for 13 years to stay, just at the point they are knocking on the door. Like others, I feel perhaps we’ve seen enough of Eddie Nketiah now to know he’s not going to be anything but an ok back up striker for us. He can still have a good career. If Balogun is as good as people say (and he has looked good when we’ve seen him) he should be the priority now and getting opportunities in FA Cup games, Europa league and substitute appearances… Read more »

Charles MMM

You have a point, but wisdom and docurum needs to be applied. If Nketiah feels like he’s been disrespected and treated like trash by the club, what stops another young and upcoming star to be not wonder if he will be disregarded when his style doesn’t suit the style of any particular coach. I think the words their agent is feeding into their young brains matters. Balogun should just look at Saka and Rowe and make up his mind. His agent (I think) is not being totally honest with him.

Arsenal Liam

From what I have seen of Eddie I would have sold him this window. I don’t think his all round game merits a place in the squad. His England U21 record is superb but for Every Alan Shearer there is a Francis Jeffers. Arsenal should have capitalized on his England record and tried to sell him. His place in the squad could have been given to Balogun which may have improved contract negotiations. I see Eddie as a Bournemouth player and I can see Balogun playing for whoever he wishes in the future

santi's thigh grab

I tend to agree with this line of thinking. Eddie was a beast at the U21 level but hasn’t had much of an impact in the PL. Did well in the cups but competition was great in EL. Hard to sell a U21 international scoring record holder without seeing his impact fully in the PL but that’s where we are. Tough decisions have to be made and agent is forcing our hand. I’d put Eddie on the transfer list with Laca and give Balogun some minutes to get him to sign.

Sam

Surely the best way of convincing him would be to actually play him?

Sam

It’s a pretty silly situation tbh. He isn’t signing a new contract cause he isn’t playing enough and we aren’t playing him as he hasn’t signed a new contract!

MrT

‘ Eddie is in front of him ‘ if I heard that I wouldn’t sign…
Eddie had chances, didn’t take it, you give this kid the same chances as Eddie, he would of took it…
But hey who are we to know better than Arteta, best man manager of all time.

AledoBren

“We have to respect that pathway.”

Your the manager Mikel and you can decide the pathway. If he doesn’t play he will be off and who can balme him?

Iyke

Arteta please give Balogun a chance because his better than Nketiah and sign Odegaard for now opportunity has come before other clubs hijacked him as Ozil is out,
Ceballos can go back with Madrid been said his mind is in Madrid, it’s very important to sign and work with a player who loves than those in just for business.

Henrik

Only one thing matters, he needs to sign a new contract. If not we will regret it for a long time, amazing talent!

MeSoHornsey

If he’s seriously behind Eddie, is he really as good as everyone is hyping him up to be? A couple of games in the Europa League, he looked decent but so did Eddie when he first broke through.

In any case, maybe I’m getting old but the way I see it, a club like Arsenal should be having unproven 19 year olds (with potential) begging to give them a contract, not the other way around. It makes no sense to me.

Mentalista

It makes total sense to me for players to have more career options, more autonomy to pick a club where they can both play regularly and earn decent wages, instead of “begging” as you say.

This is one of the positives of more money flowing into football – smaller teams can also pay decent wages, so players can value play time as a greater factor when negotiating contracts (but not all of them do, obviously).

Sac, Lac & Craic

I want to hold my hands up and state that I have absolutely no idea how big a prospect Balogun is because I don’t regularly watch Arsenal train.

Seems to me people just like the shiny new thing, which was Eddie not that long ago.

Rocky07

When you read the following quote why would Balagun not want to stay;
“I want to do that in a way that our DNA shows, which is using a lot of talent, young talent as well, using players from our academy and building something different.

Dave

Maybe play him ahead of Eddie? Or give him some minutes on the pitch? I don’t want to be harsh on Eddie, whom I think can be a good striker since he is a poacher and he has shown us he can score goals, however I think he is a bit one dimensional. I’d like to see Balogun given some chances to feature on the first team as Eddie has, from the little I’ve seen of him, I think he offers a bit more than Eddie, even when not scoring (a bit like Laca). But as I said, haven’t seen… Read more »

shane

Every time Balugun gets mentioned its knives out for Eddie. Eddie has 5 goals in 22 apps, he’s the all time under 21 top goalscorer and is obviously liked by Arteta. Balugun has had 20mins of football albeit he looked sensational i have definitely seen it before i.e carlos vela etc. I get that people want Balugun to stay but i think Eddie should be separated from the conversation, he doesnt look like he will make it however dont right him off adding muscle and bursting onto the scene in a year or two with or with us(he definitely knows… Read more »

Cultured determination

Sign a new 5 year deal and go on loan next season if he needs game time. I’m sure there will be takers in Germany or France or even England for him on loan. Come back after that and 1 of auba or laca would be gone and maybe Eddie too

Santori

That will be detrimental to player. he needs to be sold frankly. him or Nketiah or both. We should make hard decisions for the player’s sake.

JohnJules should be promoted. And we will need a more experienced and established player to replace Laca who will likely leave in summer.

thus far, neither Balogun nor Nketiah have done enough to convince me they are at the level yet.

Modha

Let’s be honest, he is off. I think we are all still burned from Gnabry and we’re terrified he’s gonna be another one. But he could easily be a new Lupoli

Santori

We should sell him or Nketiah or BOTH.

Frankly we have John Jules. He has a better frame.

And we will need to replace Laca in summer with a more established/experienced player. Odsonne edoard fits the bill for me, someone who can also control and hold the ball up add some height.

…neither Nketiah nor Balogun seem to have that, Auba forget it.

Santori

Don’t think he is as cracked up as many prefer to think. To me Arteta has difficulties letting go of certain players. He kept AMN now it will seem many fans who preferred to big up AMN over Bellerin having second thoughts…not surprising. With regard Balogun and Nketiah, one should go out on loan the other sold. Tyreece JJ looks like a good up and coming player with size we need up top. Also would like to see us go for Edouard from Celtic (although there maybe likely competition in summer). Likely Laca will leave/sold so we will need a… Read more »

Give youth a chance

We should send Nketiah away on loan, giving him the minutes he needs at this stage in his development and thereby open up opportunities for Balogun to get game time.

Do that and i’m convinced Balogun would sign an extension

Announce Bendtner

A lot of people making assessments based on relatively little knowledge of Balogun and how well he can really play at top level. I remember similar talk of Eddie before reality sank in. For every Saka and Smith-Rowe there will be a Gnabry and Balogun. We can’t bend over backwards and commit money / playing time if it’s not deserved / possible. If he decides to leave then good luck to him, he’s one poor run of form away from being assessed as not good enough by another team. I hope he does well wherever he plays.

Steve Wismark

Arteta has a funny way of shorwing he has a future with Arsenal by not inckueding him in the squad on fame days. He’s not even on the bench yet Nketiah who has proven he is not good enough yet is there pretty much every game. In the 2 games Balogun has appeared in he has scired a goal and assited on another, he has also shown that he is proficient at holding the ball up a good passer with good vision of what is going on aroubd him where as Nketiah gas proven to be a 1 trick poney.… Read more »