How Mikel Arteta convinced Folarin Balogun to sign new Arsenal contract

How Mikel Arteta convinced Folarin Balogun to sign new Arsenal contract
The talented teenager will pen a new four-year deal with the Gunners (Pictures: Getty Images)

Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun agreed to sign a new long-term contract with the Gunners after being promised a substantial first-team role next season, according to reports.

The 19-year-old is extremely highly rated by the north London club but looked set to leave on a free transfer this summer having repeatedly turned down contract offers.

A host of European clubs were looking at the teenager -including RB Leipzig, Stuttgart and Monaco – while Premier League giants Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton were also keeping a close eye on the situation.

Folarin Balogun Dundalk FC v Arsenal FC: Group B - UEFA Europa League
The teenage striker impressed in his Europa League outings (Picture: Getty)

Balogun was believed to be asking for around £30,000-a-week to extend his contract with Arsenal despite still waiting for his Premier League debut, though that was not the biggest stumbling block over a deal.

The England Under-20 international has been looking for assurances over his pathway to the first team under Mikel Arteta, having only ever been on the fringes of the side.

Despite performing well in a handful of Europa League group games – netting against Molde and Dundalk – Balogun was only given one run out in the Carabao Cup and never even made the matchday squad for a Premier League game.

The youngster has always made it clear that his decision will hinge on what is best for his development and now Football.London report that he has finally received the assurances over game time he was seeking from his manager.

Arteta made a late plea to Balogun to stay at the club and promised to make him part of the first-team squad going forward, with the striker set for a more prominent role as soon as he puts pen to paper.

He could even emerge as Arsenal’s second-choice striker behind only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if Alexandre Lacazette – who is entering the last year of his contract – is sold, while Eddie Nketiah is also expected to be offloaded.

How Mikel Arteta convinced Folarin Balogun to sign new Arsenal contract
Balogun’s new deal increases doubts over Lacazette and Nketiah (Picture: Getty)

Arteta has always been confident Balogun would stay, saying last month: ‘I think I am pretty positive about it and every time I spoke to him, he mentions the same thing, that he’s determined to stay here, that he wants to stay here.

‘We have had some really positive conversations with his agent as well and Edu is in charge of that.

‘He’s been spending a lot of time and energy to make that deal happen because it’s important for us to keep our talent in the house, and what we can guarantee is that we’re doing everything we can to keep him.’

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