Arsenal supporters have been reacting throughout the day to the news that highly-rated youngster Folarin Balogun has signed a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium.
After several weeks and months of speculation and negotiations, it was officially announced on Monday afternoon that the teenager had extended his stay in north London until the summer of 2025.
The 19-year-old, although he has found first-team opportunities limited this season, has shown glimpses of his potential when called upon by manager Mikel Arteta, whilst proving to be a consistent threat at under-23s level.
Now that he has committed his long-term future to the club, he will be hoping to see his first-team opportunities increase.
On extending his stay in north London, Balogun told Arsenal.com: “I’m absolutely buzzing. It’s a moment I’ve been waiting for, for a long time so I’m glad that it could finally happen and get it sorted.”
Having been on the Gunners’ books since 2009, signing at the tender age of just nine-years-old, Balogun has now explained of how his dream has come true.
He continued: “So I came here at nine. 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 that you see on TV.
“From that age straight away I just had the drive and the ambition to be that guy eventually.
“And then as time has gone on I’ve seen loads of different coaches help me in my career. Now I can just see the work that I’ve been putting in over the years is starting to pay off.”
Although Balogun currently has the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him in the pecking order, the striker will be looking to pounce on any opportunities that come his way between now and the end of the season, especially with Lacazette currently sidelined through injury and Aubameyang continuing his recovery from illness.
In what has proven to be an exciting day for the club’s supporters, as they are relieved to have seen the Gunners tie the exciting youngster down to a long-term contract, they now believe that he could be in line to catch a latest glimpse of him when Arsenal face Villarreal in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League semi-final on Thursday evening.
That is because the striker has been left out of the under-23s’ matchday squad to face Leicester City in the Premier League 2 this evening, which is surprising considering how important he has been for the development squad this season.
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But with that said, some Gunners fans believe Balogun could feature in the squad against Villarreal later this week, sparking hopes amongst some that he could be handed the chance to prove his worth once again.
Below, football.london has taken a close look at what some Arsenal supporters have had to say on social media.
As you can see from the tweets posted above, several are under the impression that Balogun could be played on Thursday evening, which would represent the biggest honour in his career so far.
On Balogun extending his stay at the Emirates Stadium, boss Arteta told Arsenal.com: “We have been extremely impressed with Flo this season.
“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.”