Mikel Arteta sends message to Arsenal contract rebel Folarin Balogun


Mikel Arteta handed a senior debut to Folarin Balogun during last night’s win over Dudalk (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta insists he has full confidence in Folarin Balogun and is adamant the youngster will continue to gain first team experience should he opt to remain at Arsenal amid a contract standoff.

The New York-born striker has been prolific at youth level for the Gunners but has, up until now, been frustrated at a lack of first team opportunities and failed to come to an agreement with Arsenal over a new deal.

Sheffield United made an official offer for the 19-year-old during the summer, while a number of Bundesliga clubs are said to be monitoring Balogun’s situation with a view to a possible free transfer when his current deal expires next year.

The talented teenager made his senior debut as a second-half substitute in last night’s 3-0 Europa League win over Dundalk and Arteta is hopeful he can persuade Balogun that his future remains in north London.

‘He’s a player that I really like,’ the Arsenal manager said in his post match press conference.

Folrain Balgoun’s Arsenal contract expires next summer (Picture: Getty)

‘Obviously I’ve got this situation and I believe it’s later than what I would like because I wasn’t here when everything started to develop but yes, he’s a player that I would like to give chances to.

‘That’s why he was in the squad today and I showed him that yes, we count on him and we believe in him and if he wants, he’s going to have a future in the club.’

Balogun endured a nomadic career during the early stages his career before finding his feet in Arsenal’s academy and after waiting patiently for this opportunity, he thanked Arteta for handing him a chance to impress in the first team last night.

‘It feels great,’ he said, ‘It’s a moment I have been waiting for for a little while so to finally get it feels great. I can only thanks Mikel ad the staff for this opportunity and I look forward to doing it more often

‘It’s been tough, I’ve been at a few other clubs doing trials and stuff like that but I’ve been working my way through the academy and I think as time has gone on I’ve become a better player.

‘I think that’s shown in my performances and I think it’s good now to get the recognition that my performances deserve.

‘There were loads of emotions really. I knew that this was the moment I’d been waiting for but at the same time I knew there was a job that needed to be done. So I just tried to come on, make runs, be a nuisance and just help the team.’

MORE: Mikel Arteta sends Manchester United warning to Arsenal players after Dundalk victory

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