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Mikel Arteta admits he’s had ‘difficult months’ with Arsenal star Folarin Balogun


Folarin Balogun scored with just his second touch (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits the club have experienced some ‘difficult months’ with striker Folarin Balogun following speculation over his future at the Emirates.

The striker looked set to leave the club last summer after refusing to sign a new deal with the Gunners.

The likes of Brentford and Aston Villa were linked with the 19-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

However, Arteta has made it clear that he wants Balogun to stay and the striker scored with just his second touch as the Gunners booked their place in the last-32 of the Europa League with a 3-0 win against Molde on Thursday.

Balogun scored moments after coming on (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Speaking after the match, Arteta confessed it’s been a ‘difficult’ time for himself and the forward but reiterated that he wants him to sign a new deal.

‘He had some difficult months with all the speculation around him, he’s handled the situation in a really mature way.

‘He wants to stay, we want him to stay. We gave him the opportunity and he took it straight away.’

Arsenal’s victory means they will top the group and can now afford to fully rest first-team players going into the final two matches against Dundalk and Rapid Vienna.

The Gunners take on Wolves at the Emirates on Sunday and Arteta hopes to have David Luiz fit after he was taken off as a precaution in Norway.

‘This [artificial] surface brings some different challenges to some players who had issues in their bodies and it’s quite aggressive to play on,’ said Arteta.


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