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.

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Johnny 4 Hats

I like that this is being asked about a lot in press conferences. It shows Balogun that he is very much in the thoughts of the Arsenal fans and the wider press and also reminds Arteta of the importance of keeping the young lad from a PR perspective.

Keep asking questions guys!

Daveo

Sounds like these guys need a new agent. If “he wants to stay” then WTF is this middle man doing? Player agents were definitely on the Golgafrincham Ark Fleet Ship B.

SB Still

Ornstein twitting that Balogun near a pre-contract with a foreign club, as well as this is the same agent that Saka, Nelson, Iwobi use.

We should sell Eddie to raise funds for the creative recruitment rather than selling Bellerin. That way we would be stronger at RB, as well as in the striker department with Balogun convinced to stay.

TungorAdams

I am with you on this one, Nketiah looked like close to a break through, didn’t happen though, leaving him trailing his expected involvement. We can’t keep them all involved, and need to raise funds, Balogun looks really hungry and naturally leathal, the fact it has clicked for him when playing with 1st team should convince him to stay

Cescy man

One of an agent’s functions is also to take heat for a player. Maybe he wants to play more first team football in addition to getting paid, even if it’s for a smaller club.

Either way, hope we keep him. He’s looked great the few times I’ve seen him.

Pookins

As long as this doesn’t get twisted by the tabloid press….”Arteta blasts agent” is the kind of headline we could see. Trying to cause a rift.

Ozzie

If we still had Raul, he’d just pay the agent whatever he’s asking for (plus 40%) and job done.

ALEXISANTISAKANELLI

Balogun Is good but I wont be surprised if he signs and doesn’t do as well as expected. We haven’t seen enough of him in the first team youth football is different from first team football. Chuba Akpom Chuks Aneke Sanchez Watts Mavididi were all banging goals in U21 but when they moved up they couldn’t cut it at arsenal. So I think calmness is required with Balogun yes he seems like a talent but he wasn’t a bigger talent than those guys I mentioned at the same age so yeah I’d like him to sign and stay so we… Read more »

Freezedawg of Sweden

I’d be very happy to see more of Balogun. Hoping for a signature!

perfectpires

from what l have seen so far Balogun looks a better player than eddie,stronger,holds the ball up well, finishes better and is more of a team player. give him more game time instead of eddie then he will be more inclined to tell his agent he wants to stay

gooner

Agree with you mostly but you think his agent has his family members in a bunker somewhere in a remote forest, constantly telling the boy ” I know your heart and soul are with arsenal but I decide this for you or you never see them again ” ? Players can switch agents if they are misrepresenting them. The player no doubt has other clubs in his ears promising trophies and champions league football and any other incentives they won’t fulfil in the long term. We are where liverpool was in 2004, relatively and they are where we were. Realistically… Read more »

Zet

Hopefully Eddie find his touch. Balogun is strong, Eddie is fast. Would be nice to see what this combination can bring to Arsenal

TungorAdams

Nketiah has been thrown into much tougher games than Balogun, taking huge responsibility. Not sure Balogun has done the same, but I agree he shines potential to achieve great things

Julberto

We need to get him to sign a new contract. In 18 months time with the right loan(s) he can replace Lacazette

Gus Caesar

Sounds very much to me like the agent is trying to get the possible deal for him/herself…

Dave Cee

Maybe, maybe not. But showing some faith in the player and starting him against Dundalk for example would go some way to persuading him that he is a valued member of the 1st team squad and has the chance to make himself a fixture in the team if he performs well enough, like ESR.
Talk is cheap

Gus Caesar

He’s probably had more game time than most 19 year old academic players would get at any big club, which is not bad considering he won’t commit to the club and his agent has obviously been flirting with other clubs (e.g. Sheffield Utd last summer). I also don’t think that he should effectively force his way into the team through contract blackmail – there are many academy players who have to wait and take their opportunity and that’s absolutely right, it would be anarchy otherwise if all it takes to get picked is to run your contract down. However, I… Read more »

Objectivefan

Balogun and Eddie share the same agent. It is much better for the agent that they’re not competing for the same place at the same club. He wants them both as first choice strikers.

Vonnie'

Then he needs to find a decent club for Eddie.

Gus Caesar

Aye. Also Nelson’s, who’s been mysteriously ‘injured’ on and off all season. There’s always much much more going on than we’re lucky to ever discover. In the past our issue has been a mutual dislike between certain agents/our representatives, but I have no idea whether that’s at the root this time. But I don’t think that many agents overly care whether their client is first or second choice, their job is basically to get the best possible deal for them and their client.

Dele

The agent wants to protect the player, which is part of the job. If there is no concrete indication Balogun is going to play then you’re risking the players future. Although i want Balogun to stay , you cant blame the agent when Auba, Lacazette, Nketiah & Martinelli are ahead of him in the pecking order.

Gus Caesar

No player has a concrete knowledge of game time and, when you’re 19 and at a big club, getting the football he has done so far (and will certainly get in future) has been pretty good. If you want guarantees of football to sign a contract the you’re putting a club in an impossible situation, it’s almost as if you want an excuse to take bigger money elsewhere. Of the 4 you name, 2 likely won’t be at the club in the coming seasons, 1 doesn’t play centrally (and is on record as saying he doesn’t like to) and if… Read more »

Brian

My thoughts exactly. Must be hard for youngsters to swim the sharks – agents & managers.

MattB

Actions speak louder than words. He hasn’t been given enough playing time. Hear ‘Pool are circling. If it’s Balo or Eddie (which is a reasonable scenario) then I hope we back the right horse

Chrispy

Agents really are scum.

Arcelona

I wouldn’t be surprised if Arsenal are unwilling to pay a huge fee to the agent for doing next to f**k all

Hurensohn

Why? There’s plenty of examples of us doing that in recent times… It doesn’t usually end well though.

allezkev

It’s the world we live in I’m afraid, if we don’t pay it someone else will and we’ve paid quite a bit in the past with mixed results, every club does.

You can’t win, if we don’t pay it and he goes elsewhere and he’s a star our fan base will go mental.

Gus Caesar

If you look at how much we’ve paid to agents in recent times it’s clear we don’t have an issue with paying them. But surely you can see that there has to be a limit to how much a club (in the middle of a pandemic and financial doom btw) can be prepared to pay? Surely you don’t believe that we should just pay whatever an agent asks for?

allezkev

I never said that we should pay it Gus, I was just commenting on what the situation is and how it’ll be viewed if he leaves. His agent is I believe Emeka Obasi and he represents Alex Iwobi, Jaydon Sancho, Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson and many others, some 28 players on his books, just Google him.

If you recall the deal to sign Nelson went right to the wire, this guy knows how to play it, he did a similar job in negotiating Saka’s new deal.

Gus Caesar

Sure. I know it’s all a game of chess (although i’d say this particular game is probably drawing to its conclusion), I just find that a lot of people on here expect clubs to do whatever it takes to sign/keep the players they want. It takes two (or three in football) to tango and we can’t force people to dance.

Damian Jr

Could easily be a Callum Hodson-Odoi scenario or more positively turn out to be a Gnabry esque player, either way we’ve got to tie him down to a new contract. Lacazette ain’t getting younger and Eddie doesn’t seem to developing as we hoped.
#COYG

Jonas Hallberg

I’m starting to trust Arteta a bit when he’s saying stuff like this. It’s a bit… well, it’s new innit? The manager’s quite often saying things like “he wants to stay”, “I’m confident” long before anything’s actually announced. He didi it with Saka, Auba, Ceballos like “he’s told me he wants to stay”. Feels a bit weird that he’s kinda calling people out, but it’s been spot on so far. Hope I haven’t jinxed it 🙂

Wenger never did that right? Maybe like a day in advance bu not like this?

MrT

Wenger was class… Arteta is not…
Another Arteta fan boy, dear me..

Matthinc

You’re weird.

MrT

Do you know me to say that… ?
Trying to Shit on the best ever manager this club has ever had with a comment ‘ Wenger never did that right ‘ & sucking up to the Lego head than I’m weird.

DPK

Think you misread the intent of the comment – he didn’t mean ‘Wenger never did that right’ as in he always got it wrong….it was more ‘Wenger never did that…..right?’….as in asking a question if he remembered it correctly

Gus Caesar

Wenger was notorious in how tightly he kept the cards to his chest. Even if a player had been seen at the training ground he would rarely comment on him or confirm it. Which, given how many players passed through our training ground and then didn’t sign (Vardy anyone?), is hardly surprising. But I do think Arteta is a bit more transparent about what’s going on, you can tell that he wants us all to know when it’s not his/someone else’s fault and it frustrates him that he can’t. Wenger loved winding up the media! What troubles me about this… Read more »

MrT

Nothing to do with his agent… the lad wants to have more playing time , which Arteta is struggling to accommodate, therefore the Lego head is blaming it on the agent…

Gus Caesar

That’s right, there is no agent involved in this at all. In fact, players don’t use them, it’s a complete myth. What really happens is that Mikel Arteta goes around deliberately making every contract negotiation at every club harder and burning paperwork. He’s an undercover agent working for darker forces we knew nothing about yet, he’s not even a human lifeform, he’s a Lego man. Lego has taken over the world, in fact Covid-19 is a Lego construct. You’ve got it sussed, hands up, your intelligence worked it out in the end. Damn you and your great brain.

John

Apparently, according to The Athletic, he is soon going to sign a pre-contract agreement that will take him abroad. This will be an Andy Cole / Jadon Sancho style calamitous mistake that Arsenal will come to deeply regret. He wasn’t given anything like enough playing time and it sounds like the club were unwilling to line an agent’s pocket to secure his huge potential like they did to tie down ageing and injured journeyman squad player Cedric Soares.

Biggles

Well, I hope that’s not true, although to still be negotiating with less than 6 months to go is a nonsense.

Goontang

Aka he’s gone

Comedian

Think agents gonna milk it as much as he can…and we will see Balogun sign the contract. I had high hopes for Chuba Akpom but not every star striker from the youth ranks makes it. Balogun also has the chance here to establish himself like Saka did…also at 20 you have the chance to play for one of the biggest club in the world…I am not sure for all the talent he has if passing up this chance makes sense.

johar

Ah yes, Chuba Akpom. Many of us had high hopes for him. But now he’s at Middlesbrough after being loaned out all over the place. Helps to have a bit of perspective on these promising youngsters.

Gus Caesar

What’s interesting about Akpom is that his reputation was entirely fueled by fan talk. He was never some kind of complete player or great finisher, he just happened to score a lot in the context of youth/reserve teams with great creative players and he benefited from the chances they laid on. My instinct is that Balogun is much better than Akpom ever was, but it’s absolutely worth remembering that the impression us fans get from how a player performs at youth level (often from never watching any full games and relying on highlight packages!) isn’t wholly accurate of how a… Read more »

DPK

I had forgotten about JET. I saw him live once in a youth team game v Man Utd and he was by a huge distance the best player in the pitch. My Utd supporting mate who was at the game to was gobsmacked by how God he was. Some kids just aren’t able to make that next step…

Gus Caesar

People often underestimate that the Sunday leagues pitches are full of ex-pros who didn’t have the required ability ‘upstairs’.

Biggles

Let’s hope that the club can get this sorted out. Balogun is certainly a prospect and we need to retain all the young talent we can when the many “passengers” in the squad begin to be offloaded.

Dazza84

This for me indicates Balogun is leaving. You don’t insult the agent if talks are going well. Clearly Arteta is trying to deflect the blame.

Biggles

No, I don’t think it indicates anything either way, although I hope that he stays as he’s clearly a talent. MA clearly isn’t “insulting” the agent (not from the quotes in the article anyway – although you may have other quotes from elsewhere to base that observation on). Agents often/always push for better deals for their clients, sometimes when the client (particularly youngsters) are reasonably happy with what’s on the table. That’s their job – which is how/why they earn their commission. It doesn’t mean Balogun will stay or go – it’s just part of the negotiation. If there is… Read more »

karl

I always thought the agent worked for the player, rather than the other way around. If he wants to stay, I’m sure it will not be without reward.

yen

This is what Fabrizio Romano posted couple hours ago re: Balogun:

Balogun always been open to stay at Arsenal… but he needs to play. This is the priority for Folarin and his agents.

If he plays more, he’ll be consider a new contract. If not, Balogun will decide among 15 clubs that approached him as free agent. Nothing done/signed yet”

Rich

Seems like Balogun is being given some good advice. He’s 19 and wants to play. Cant start a dead rubber in the Europa, in spite of 2 goals from the subs bench Can’t get a start in the League Cup Can’t make a 9 man subs bench Can’t really fault a young player who wants to go and spread his wings. Good luck to him, if he signs a pre-contract with a club abroad? We may as well just stand out of his way, it’s not like we’ve had any use for him as of yet, the path is blocked.… Read more »

AMN's cheeky grin

I’d like to see him get 45 minutes against Newcastle in the FA cup. I doubt they will play a full strength side.

We won’t be able to persuade him to stay if we never play him! Still don’t understand why he didn’t get more Europa group stage minutes, seemed an easy win.

TungorAdams

Always adds lvls of excitement when a homegrown player makes it into the 1st team, feels like having one of us on the pitch. Greedy agents are a different story though, hopefully that is not what we have here. The fact Saka’s contract also took ages to get done makes this saga less worrying

TeeCee

Over to you Ripley: “I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.”

SarcasmB0t

Yeah, this sounds like Arteta’s lying.

So the player wants to stay, but the evil agent wants to move him against his will?

I’m sure Balogun falls asleep shivering every night worrying what foreign football sweatshop his nefarious agent will send him to.

If Balogun wanted to stay and the club were willing to give him the same salary he would get elsewhere, there would be no issue.

Arteta is trying to shift the blame on Balogun’s agent. That’s it.

Gabigol

Agents should not be allowed to represent academy players full stop.

It should be done by PFA department specialising in elite youth.

Otherwise, money should be handled in a different way for youth so agents don’t get a cut until player turns 21

Qwaliteee

This is where we are sorely missing the services of David Dein and Arsene Wenger.

Once Arsene had identified a player he wanted to sign or keep or didn’t want – then nine times out of ten Dein made it happen.

When Anelka’s agent brother started behaving like a twat, Dein soon got shot of them both and we financed our (then brand new state of the art) training ground.

Arteta and Edu have got to start taking a tougher line with players agents. You either control them or they control you.

Gus Caesar

It’s amazing how time fades memories. There were countless examples of players that Dein failed to sign and we lost out on to teams who didn’t have half of our resources, both before and during Wenger’s reign. For most of the 80s and early 90s us fans were berating the club for not competing in the market. And Dein didn’t “get shot” of the Anelka brothers, they forced their brother out of the club and on to a massive pay day in Spain, something they had set-up behnd the scenes long before we got the credit for the money we… Read more »