Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Arteta pleased with progress of loanees Balogun and Saliba

Mikel Arteta says two of Arsenal’s next generation of stars are moving in the right direction after a week in which Folarin Balogun bagged three Interlull goals for England’s under-21s and William Saliba earned his first cap for France.

The 20-year-old striker and 21-year-old centre-back are on loan at Middlesbrough and Marseille respectively until the end of the season but are expected to return to Arsenal in the summer with a view to challenging for a first team place in pre-season.

On Balogun’s development, Arteta said: “I think Flo is doing what he needed to do and probably we should have done it a little bit earlier.

“It is always a bit difficult to time when is the best moment to do that. But he’s having the right exposure, he’s playing in a different formation and sometimes a different role under a manager and a club with a huge history.

“You can see how he is developing, so this is giving us information. This is going to give us more detail about what is the next best move for him to keep developing, because he has (developed) and we want him to be part of our future.

“The step is too big from what he was doing [with the under-23s] to the Premier League and we could see that. It was not fair on him to just assess in certain [Premier League] moments whether he could do it or not.

“He needed a pathway, he needs the exposure, he needs to go through good and difficult moments, he needs to be able to adapt and find himself in a dressing room and develop the importance that he’s going to require to play at this level. I think he’s doing all of that really well.”

Unlike Balogun, who has featured for the Gunners’ first team both this season and last, Saliba’s long wait for a senior debut under Arteta continues.

The defender is on loan for the third time since signing from Saint-Etienne in 2018 and some have questioned whether he’ll ever get his chance.

A call-up from Didier Deschamps to represent the reigning world champions should boost his confidence after a solid season at the Stade Velodrome.

“I haven’t spoken to him since then [his France debut] but obviously we are really aware of what he is doing and how he is developing,” said Arteta.

“He’s our player and we are really happy with the decision that we made. He is getting the minutes and the exposure, responsibility and the growth at his age was not something we could guarantee here this season.

“And it makes a lot of sense what is happening with him and we are glad to see the way he is improving.”

Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Man Manny

If only Lacazette could be convinced to take a one year contract extension, we would sign a striker in the early to mid twenties, and replace Nketiah with Balogun.
As for Saliba, I wonder if he would want to start his Arsenal career fighting with Ben White for the RCB position. Fingers crossed.
A centre back option of White, Gabriel, Holding and Saliba is quite impressive.


I really wonder why people down voted this. I mean continuity is so important in every organisation.
We cannot just plug n play players like in Fifa.
What if the new striker needs adaptation time?
If he is injured or even if he is a flop?
Good old Lacazette can do it for some months more.
The real question is if he can be convinced to play that role


Holding is poor. May aswell upgrade a youth prospect.


Gus, that’s daft – we’d do well to have Holden on staff until he hangs up his boots. Lad is a warrior, great character and plays his part when needed (admittedly, as rarely as possible)


Agree Tim, paying Bolton £2 mill Holding has played well over 100 games for us in fa cup final & europe, a solid experianced defender who probably wasn’t helped in his development through injury and some iffy defensive partners, not sure how long his contract is but if hes happy to be a bench warmer give him 3 seasons

Johnny 4 Hats

Listening to Arteta and Saliba talking about each other is like watching Oscar Wilde make love to his wife.


“not spoken to him”. That doesn’t sound good..


Saliba is a very good young player.
Arsenal is a very good team full of young players.
Arteta is a very good coach for young players.
The future is bright, it’s gonna be all right.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Don’t read anything into that at all.

France played Tuesday night, Arsenal played Wednesday, and this press conference was on Thursday morning.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Totally disagree. For such a huge milestone for the player, Arteta should have called to congratulate him immediately. He will never bond with this guy. O


Arteta: Why have the two ticks not turned blue?!?

Mr Scrojangles

Regardless of what goes on with Saliba’s future now at least we’ll actually be able to get our money back on his transfer (or perhaps more).

Personally think the writing was on the wall when White was signed – it’s a shame because I would love his profile of player (i.e. Hummels esque long passer) but clearly there’s something we’re not aware of.


Hope Balogun can take the step up, he has a higher celing than Nketiah and we need strikers next season.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

If we’re in Europe next season we’ll certainly need 3 strikers.

The question is do we keep Balogun as striker #3 next season, or give him another year out on loan.

Emmanuel Benge

Another season on loan will be perfect.

Yeah I’d tend to agree. That scenario would likely mean signing two new strikers and keeping Laca though.

Unless Arteta is serious about ESR being a false 9.


Or that Brasilian lad?!🤷🏽‍♂️ Unless we wanna go full City. But as a wise man once said, “You dont ever go fully City!!”. Or something like that anyway…

Teryima Adi

Flo should go on another year long loan I think.

Man Manny

You can’t be that certain in your comparison of Nketiah and Balogun. When Nketiah came in and scored those two quick goals against Norwich, many saw him as our new vintage fox in the box. It’s taken 3 years to realise it was a false dawn.
Don’t get me wrong, Balogun may turn out good, but there is no way of judging his ceiling now.


Problem with Eddie is we’ve not played well with a fox in the box since Weighty and Smith, but I remember Balogun games in Europe where he held the ball up fantastically.

Thierry Bergkamp (Xhaka Out)

Nketiah’s ceiling is probably closer to the floor

Mr November

I think it’s become quite difficult not to put anything Arteta says about Saliba under a microscope but when you compare what he said about him to what he said about Balogun then it’s a bit disheartening. He mentions Balogun being part of the future but doesn’t do so for Saliba. Hopefully, I’m nitpicking because it would a real shame to lose Saliba before he’s had a chance to prove himself here.

A Different George

Okay, he’s not a loanee, but did everyone see that Martinelli almost-goal that Blogs linked to yesterday? Bergkamp? Cruyff? Messi? How did we get this guy?


Gabriel Bermessuyff?! Its was good work from Mikedu Gasteta!

Im sorry, i blame it on the Dutchie! 😞 i was leaving anyway, dont need to push me!!

Horse breath

Would love to see Saliba given a shot. He’s clearly got potential


Isn’t it a bit instructive that MA didn’t add “…we want him (saliba) to be part of our future” like he did while discussing Flo or am I reading too much into it?


What i get from this is that he didn’t even bother to congratulate him on his first international call up. Make of that of what u want 🤷🏽‍♂️ cuz im confused, and if true, im still confused.
Read something in relation to Gendouzi that “Arteta was trying hard to break up a influential French click within the dressing room”.
But back to Arteta and Saliba, 8 out 10 times the manager would at least mention het texted the player congratulating on his achievement 🤔🧐🤕


arteta talked about the importance of communicating in english.
can saliba speak it yet? he’s got 5 months to grasp the basics or it will be a major stumbling block to him being in the starting lineup.


I think European football is looking more and more likely and by the time Saliba representatives come to discuss we should all know where we stand. For sure if we have European football next season it isn’t difficult for Saliba to say yes. All we can do now is concentrate on results. That seems the key for Saliba situation and extremely helpful for Balogun’s development. If we are in top4 then Lacazette will surely sign an extension and bring through Balo as he has done with ESR and Saka. Even Europa league it isn’t difficult to rack up quite a… Read more »

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x