Benik Afobe urges Folarin Balogun to leave Arsenal amid contract standoff

Dundalk v Arsenal - UEFA Europa League Group B
Balogun’s future hangs in the balance (Picture: Getty Images)

Former Arsenal academy striker Benik Afobe believes it is the ‘right decision’ for Folarin Balogun to leave the Emirates amid his ongoing contract standoff.

Balogun, 19, has less than six months remaining on his current deal and is yet to reach an agreement with the Gunners to commit his future to the club.

The New York-born striker’s excellent form for the Arsenal Under-23s this season hasn’t translated into regular first-team action under Mikel Arteta, despite impressing in several cameo appearances in the Europa League.

The striker has shown glimpses of his quality in the Europa League
The striker has shown glimpses of his quality in the Europa League (Picture: Getty Images)

Balogun has registered two goals and an assist in just 61 minutes of game time in Europe but is yet to make his Premier League debut for the club.

And fellow Gunners academy graduate Afobe, who similarly failed to break into the first team after impressing throughout the youth levels, urged the forward to move on as he doesn’t see a pathway for him at Arsenal.

‘It all depends on your positioning and who’s ahead of you… Balogun, he’s good, I’ve seen him play,’ Afobe told The Beautiful Game Podcast.

‘I think it’s the right decision for him to leave.

‘The captain [Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang] is a number nine, the other number nine is top goalscorer this season, Lacazette, and Eddie Nketiah is a couple of years older than him and has also done well.

‘If you want to keep waiting for your chance, before you know it you’re 23, and teams, managers will start picking up players who are more experienced in the Championship, who have 100 appearances to their name, instead of the guy from Arsenal who has played for England Under-19’s.

‘And that’s kind of what’s happened to me as well.’

Despite being linked with a move to several top European clubs including RB Leipzig, Arteta is ‘positive’ that Balogun will pen a new deal at Arsenal.

‘No, I’m still very positive that Flo is going to stay with us and it’s what we’re trying to do as a club, and it’s what I’m trying to do as a manager,’ the Spanish boss said last week.

‘As far as I know from last week, the player wants to be here, so I’m positive. I think he’s made some big progress in a few months.’

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