Folarin Balogun explains decision to sign new Arsenal deal as contract saga finally ends

Folarin Balogun
Balogun has already scored twice for the senior team (Picture: Getty)

Folarin Balogun has signed a new long-term deal with Arsenal, the club have confirmed.

The 19-year-old forward, nicknamed ‘Flo’ at The Emirates, was approaching the final months of his contract in north London but has now committed his long-term future to the Gunners.

Having been at the club since the age of nine, Balogun is now determined to follow the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka in nailing down a first-team role and firmly believes he will have the chances to repay the faith placed in him.

‘So I came here at nine,” Balogun told Arsenal Media. ‘I remember being at Hale End and coming into the training ground for the first time and seeing all the older boys training and I was just thinking to myself, ‘These are the same guys you see on TV.’

‘From that age, straight away, I just had a drive and ambition to be that guy eventually. As time has gone on, I’ve seen loads of different coaches help me in my career. Now I could just see that the work I’ve put in over the years is starting to pay off.

‘Kwame Ampadu, when I first came here at [under] 18s, he showed me tough love. But it was definitely something I needed at the time. Even now, Steve Bould he’s managed me really well this season, making sure that I took more of a leadership role, which is something I need to learn as well.

‘My ambitions for next season are to make an impact in the first team. I see it as something that I’ve taken upon myself to be able to go over there and make an impact, not just be one of the numbers.

‘I want to be somebody who eventually leads that group, so I would say I have quite driven ambitions. We’ll see if I can make them happen.’

‘We have been extremely impressed with Flo this season,’ Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said.

‘He has continually shown his natural ability in many training sessions with us and we have been equally impressed with his early integration into the first-team squad on matchdays.

‘He has given us glimpses with the performances and of course with his two goals already for the first team. The hard work starts here for Flo and we are all looking forward to supporting and working with him in the years to come.’

MORE : Arsenal still paying 90% of Mesut Ozil’s £350,000-a-week wages despite having joined Fenerbahce

MORE : Arsenal open talks with Emile Smith Rowe over new long-term contract

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

No comments