Thursday, May 30, 2024

Balogun reveals Arteta’s challenge before Reims move

Folarin Balogun says his decision to join French side Reims was a response to Mikel Arteta’s challenge to use this season to ‘develop as a man’.

Approached by clubs at home and abroad, the England under-21 international took the path less travelled by opting for an adventure in Ligue 1 and has, so far, impressed with five goals in six league starts.

His decision to cross the Channel certainly got Thierry Henry’s attention, who told Amazon Prime Video in France: “When I heard he was coming to France, it made me think he has a refreshing mindset.

Back in England for international duty with the Young Lions, Balogun reflected on how the latest stage of his career is going.

“Before I moved, Mikel (Arteta) just wanted me to develop as a man,” he said.

“It was kind of like an open answer and it was for me to interpret what he meant by ‘develop as a man’.

“By moving abroad, I’m starting to learn what he meant by that. It doesn’t just mean on the pitch but also off the pitch. I think by the time I go back I’ll be in a better place to compete than I was before I left.”

While things are going well on the pitch, the striker admits his real challenge over the coming months will be to learn French so that he can better integrate with his teammates.

“I think it’s very important to just throw yourself in at the deep end, as I’m trying to do, and hopefully I don’t drown.

“Pretty much every training session there’s something I’m confused about so I’ve got to ask a lot of questions, I’ve got to pick up on key words and that’s how I’m learning the language at the moment.

“Just asking questions and, if I’m not sure on something, trying to remember phrases I’ve heard before.

“If you sit on the edge, it will take longer to understand things. I’m still learning the language. I’m going to be learning it for a long time.

“It’s difficult but I’m trying my best to integrate myself with everyone. The (French) lessons are once a week for an hour. I tried to do a bit longer but it started to give me a headache.

“You actually need it a lot, because there are maybe only three English-speaking people at the club. The players just speak French.”

Balogun is still keeping an eye on what’s going on at Arsenal and was pleased to see a fellow academy graduate make their debut at the weekend. It turns out the attacker was already familiar with 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri.

In an interview with Sky Sports, he revealed: “I noticed he trained with us a few times. I spoke to the ’18’s manager. He told me that ‘he’s a really good player’ and he said that ‘he has a bright future’.

“I definitely had an eye out for him, then it was just really good to see making his debut. You hope that he can carry on impressing and staying in the first team.

“There have been a lot of players in the past who have kicked on really early. The likes of Reiss Nelson and Bukayo (Saka). They made their first team really early.

“Bukayo I think made his debut at 17. I am sure Arsenal have a plan for him. I am sure if he keeps his head down and works hard, then he will see through that.”

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Meanwhile, a 29-year-old England no.1 striker doesn’t even bother to learn proper English.


I should hope not! If he had ever got a gold star for English he’d have won something, which would ruin a perfectly good running gag.

Zadok the Regular Dishwasher Salesman

I get that it’s funny to laugh at Kane bcos he plays for Spurs and is a bit of a cunt, but the guy has a speech impediment and it rubs me up the wrong way when people say he can’t speak English. Luke Ayling had a stutter as a kid (as did Joe Biden actually) and I’m pretty sure it was really hard for him to overcome. And making someone feel insecure about something as fundamental as speaking is damaging because it can make them not want to speak at all. Not just meaning Kane, but people with similar… Read more »

Santi's Thigh Grab

Thanks I’ve always felt the same. For me, he’s the most overrated player who is a diving cheating back into you cunt who has never won anything. I have never hated a player more. But I would never make fun of his speech impediment. To me there are things off limits, race, disabilities, sexual orientation etc. Don’t want our club to be like those cunts at Napoli.

Scored at the Clock End

And Chelsea


I’m sure Harry Kane would appreciate that you are offended on his behalf.

He’s hardly got a speech impediment anyway, his main issue is that he’s an absolute mouth breather

Zadok the Regular Dishwasher Salesman

I’m not offended. It doesn’t affect me. I’m just pointing it out. There will be people out there who have similar speech impediments to Harry Kane, who will read stuff like this and feel uncomfortable. You can choose what you want to do with that information, whether you think the joke is worth the collateral damage it will do to those people. I’ve made plenty of jokes about Harry Kane’s speech over the years, but once I actually thought about this it made me kind of uncomfortable so I tried to stop, because whether it’s funny or not it’s still… Read more »


That is fair

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Calm down, he just has a fat tongue


🎵“He spits when he talks….he spits when he talks….” 🎵😂

Charles Charlie Charles

And a love of the word ‘obviously.’


Yeah, the poor millionaire. Diddums.
Sheesh, 2022 is full of babies.
Whatever happened to sticks and stones?


This page turns into an episode of ‘Loose Women’ at times. “Let’s politically correct and sanitise the game of football and the match day experience beyond all recognition.” No. Let’s fucking not. For the football fan, Football has always been an alternative universe – an escape from the real world for 90 minutes – you know deep down as a human being that Harry Kane is just another bloke (when he’s in an England shirt for some of us, he’s actually ‘one of us’) but n that Tottenham shirt, he’s still a Spud cunt, right? Nothing personal!! Eliminate match day… Read more »

Eric Blair

Wind your neck in mate.

Most people nowadays accept that it’s not OK to discriminate against people based on things like gender, sexual orientation, skin colour, religion or disability. That also means most people don’t accept abusing footballers in that way, not even if ‘it’s footy, innit’. Sorry if that offends you, my dear snowflake.

Having said that, just playing for that lot you deserve everything you get, so I think we can all agree that he is a total wanker.

Charles Charlie Charles

Seems to me that you’re being the snowflake here. Qwaliteee is as old school as they come.

Zadok the Regular Dishwasher Salesman

I’m not trying to sanitise football. I don’t want to eliminate match day banter. I called Harry Kane a cunt in my original post, and I will defend yours and my right to call Spurs players and fans cunts to the end because like you say, that’s not personal or inherent to them. They chose to be associated with Spurs, and that’s on them. And again as you say, it’s part of football escapism. The rivalry makes it exciting, and at the end of the day we all work with Spurs fans and we can get on with them. They’re… Read more »





Tottenham fans ARE cunts. 😉


By your logic, we shouldn’t have chanted “hes bald, he’s shit, he plays when noones fit, pascal cygan” at Highbury because male pattern baldness is a condition that affects male mental well being outside of the game. It’s like stand up comedy, let it be and when something is too far, it’s roundly condemned. You’re reaching here imo, as honorable as your intentions may be

Zadok the Regular Dishwasher Salesman

So again this isn’t about what we should and shouldn’t do, and I’ve tried as far as possible in my arguments to keep it about action and consequence rather than moral. You can feed this into the equation yourself if you want: what are the consequences of chanting “he’s bald, he’s shit, he plays when no-one’s fit?” Maybe it makes some people with male pattern baldness feel insecure. If so, maybe you want to reevaluate your relationship with that chant. I’m not making decisions for anyone, I’m just trying to make them consider a potential pernicious consequence of an action,… Read more »


Feel your deliberately missing the point to make a different point. Above commentator is all for calling Kane names, just saying don’t be a bigot.


I feel you’re deliberately missing my points.

Democracy. You can’t beat it. 😊

Charles Charlie Charles

You’d have got laughed out of the North Bank back in the day for saying that. “Above commentator is all for calling Gascoigne a fat bastard, just don’t be a bigot.”

Charles Charlie Charles

Agreed, some of the pc whining on here is ridiculously OTT.

Zadok the Regular Dishwasher Salesman

Hahaha this is the funniest thing – literally “Sheesh, 2022 is full of [well-reasoned arguments with evidence given of consequences of unthinking actions]. Whatever happened to [baseless folk proverb]?”

The “babies” were always there, Oddo. They were quietly having an awful time in the corner while you were busy not giving a shit about them. What’s happening in 2022 is now they’re asking if you could maybe help make the world a more inclusive place for them.

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

Ivan Toner?



Funsho Patrick


Brady’s bunch

He’d drown if he had to speak French


Or Welsh. 😂

Teryima Adi

Le parler Un Francais? Oui.😄😜😜

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Good to throw yourself in at the deep end….not so good to get drowned.


Seems an extremely measured lad, and it’s looking like yet another resounding hit on the loan front. Got to say, it’s difficult to see too many areas where the club isn’t being well run at the moment.

Fingers crossed he comes back to challenge for that back-up striker spot


Just need to learn how to sell well and we are almost a perfectly well run club atm.


That’s an excellent point, that’s the only glaring problem I can see


Can we please have that Umbro kit for the 2023-24 season. Spectacular!!!

A Different George



Charlie Nicholas, Paul Mariner days


I think the best post 70’s kit (which we wore up until May 1982, by which time it had become every bit as boring as George Wood, Peter Nicholas, John Hawley and Ray Hankin) was the 1982/83 and 1983/84 Red V neck shirts. Put class. Things desperately needed to change and that summer of ‘82, we signed Tony Woodcock (who became a North Bank hero) and Lee Chapman (who, after a fair bit of hype, didn’t, but he looked the part). The reason Chapman looked the part was in no small measure down to Arsenal finally caving in and ditching… Read more »

Charles Charlie Charles

Blimey, you’re taking me back there, mate. What were you, top side or middle? I agree, the Blue Bottle kit was great. And the Gooner casuals were by far the best dressed set of fans, especially the Away Boys, although Chelsea fancied themselves when they got promotion in 1984. I remember a Graham Rix belter against Middlesborough in that green kit in 82/83 and also a home defeat to Moscow Spartak in the UEFA cup when we wore the green kit instead of the home kit. Would love Adidas to bring those colours that back at some point. Like you… Read more »


Middle. 👍


I completely agree Charles charlie Charles, – green away kit is a hundred times more arsenal than a blue one (and less Sp*rs).
And I was at that spartak moscow game, got there late and first thing I saw (from north bank, west corner junior gunners pen) was Brian Talbot’s back taking a corner, that familiar white number 4 but on a GREEN shirt!!! Loved it!!


Loved that post !
I have to agree, that v neck Umbro (with navy hooped socks) is my fave arsenal kit of all time. Shame those socks only lasted a season.


* pure class


“It’s difficult but I’m trying my best to integrate myself with everyone. The (French) lessons are once a week for an hour. I tried to do a bit longer but it started to give me a headache.” I feel you brother. When I started piano lessons I also experienced headaches and restricted myself to just one hour a week. Now after 37 years of weekly lessons I can competently play chopsticks! With two hands!! FFS Can we not employ a mean old french women to follow him around all day with a big stick and berate and hit him every… Read more »


That’s quite negative. I’m sure that with 1 hour of French every week he’ll be able to say “Hello, how are you?” by the end of the year.


I heard William Saliba talk for the first time the other day.

Took me straight back to Ms Antoniedes class in ‘93 when ‘Luc’ would speak through the tape player and tell us all he was 12 years old but in the deep bass baritone of 76 year old jazz singer who’s smoked 20 gauloises for 50 years.


1 hour of guided lessons plus constant spoken French throughout his day – I think he’ll be alright

Santi's Thigh Grab

She has a kerchief over her head and is carrying a rolling pin.


Lol… That’s a tad too far Charlie


Cracked me up big time Charlie. Laughed out loud here in my office. “Mean old lady”!


How you say Good Ebenibg in French?

Eric Blair

One hour a week and headaches? Kind of funny!

But seriously, he has to improve his French, otherwise how will he explain in the canteen at lunch that one egg is un oeuf?

Death by 300,000 Passes

“The (French) lessons are once a week for an hour. I tried to do a bit longer but it started to give me a headache.”

One guy was strolling through the park when he saw a man hanging from a tree on a rope by his waist.
“What are you doing?”, the first man asked.
“I have decided to end my life and I am trying to hang myself.”
“Shouldn’t you hang yourself by the neck?”
“I tried, but then I cannot breath…”

5 goals in 6 Ligue 1 starts makes him joint 4th on the chart, behind Neymar (8), Mbappe (7) and Moffi (6). For more context, Messi is on 4.
Bit early in the day, but do I dare to dream about something resembling the career trajectory of a certain William Saliba?
A man can only dream…

Boy Bastin

If his loan turns out to be as successful as Saliba’s was – and he’s off to a good start – then that will certainly be a big plus for Arsenal in coming seasons.


The squad needs another striker, I am not too convinced by Eddie, my hope is this boy Folarin does the job and eventually becomes a top level striker which we desperately need. I prefer bringing in academy players into the first team, this is a more sustainable approach to football.

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