Mikel Arteta says that he and Arsenal are keen to keep Folarin Balogun and extend his contract, and that the young striker himself wants to stay at the Gunners.
However, he has hinted that the player’s agent is the part of the puzzle which needs to be unlocked before agreement can be found.
Asked if the 19 year old would be available and involved in this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Newcastle, the manager said, “He is fit and available.
“Again his progression and the use of the time he’s had with us, has been incredibly good, and he will keep having chances when he is with us.
Pressed on the contract situation, after Balogun Tweeted that he was ready for big year, Arteta said, “Well, you need three parties to make a deal.
“For sure the club wants to make a deal and the manager wants to make a deal; the player wants to stay; and I’m not sure about the agent.”
Then asked if the agent, who also represents fellow Arsenal youngsters Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, was a problem, he clarified, saying, “I’m not saying he’s stopping it, but we need to find an agreement with him.
“We are negotiating in the end with an agent, and a player who wants to stay at the club, and we need to find an agreement.
“I’m telling you we are doing everything we can to keep him here. And hopefully from the other side they are doing the same and they are defending the same interests – which is the player’s interests, which is to stay at the football club and successful with us.”
It certainly sounds as if there’s a willingness to make a new deal happen, but with less than 6 months on his deal, the agent is making sure he gets the possible contract for his client, whether it’s at Arsenal or elsewhere.
Let’s keep fingers crossed it’s the former.