Mikel Arteta has decided on Folarin Balogun’s role at Arsenal as contract extension nears


Going into the game against Everton, Arsenal had some serious problems to deal with.

The Gunners’ players arrived at the ground three and a half hours ahead of kick off with the aim of avoiding supporters who had gathered outside the Emirates Stadium to protest against the Kroenkes’ ownership of the club.

Estimates suggest that between one and five thousand fans congregated in front of the club shop to voice their discontent at the American family’s decision to sign the team up to a European Super League without any prior consultation.

Inside the ground though there was another issue that Mikel Arteta had to contend with – his centre forward position.


Video Loading

Video Unavailable

With Alexandre Lacazette having strained his hamstring in the draw with Fulham the week prior and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still absent after contracting malaria while on international duty with Gabon, Arsenal were without their two first choice strikers.

To replace him Arteta had several different options. Fans have been desperate to see Gabriel Martinelli in the number nine role, but on the night it was Eddie Nketiah who the Spaniard went for up top.

Curiously enough though despite all the absentees in the centre forward department, one man who was still unable to even make the bench was Folarin Balogun.

The 19-year-old is one of the most highly-rated talents currently coming through the Hale End Academy which has produced the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the first team in recent seasons.

By scoring a goal every 32 minutes in the Europa League this season Balogun has stirred up excitement among Arsenal fans who were elated when news emerged that he is set sign a contract extension to stay with the club he has been at since the age of eight, after initially looking like he could leave on a free at the end of this season.

Many expected that this decision would herald the beginning of several first team opportunities for the young striker, who has played just two minutes since December for the Gunners.



A large number of Arsenal fans are calling for Folarin Balogun to start against Everton. (Image: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
A large number of Arsenal fans are calling for Folarin Balogun to start against Everton. (Image: David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

However, that has not turned out to be the case, and despite committing his future to Arsenal it seems that he is behind the likes of Nketiah and Martinelli in the pecking order as things stand.

Balogun was at the Emirates Stadium for the defeat to Everton and was pictured taking part in the warm down with the rest of the Gunners substitutes after the match so any suggestions that he is not involved in Arteta’s first team plans right now are clearly untrue.

Do you want all the latest news from around Arsenal Football Club straight to your email inbox?

Of course you do.

By signing up for our Arsenal newsletter, you will receive a twice-daily email, focused on all the latest news from the Emirates Stadium.

And, not only that, but you will get exclusive content from our club writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak before anyone else.

You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Gunners.

How do you sign up?

It’s easy and only takes seconds.

Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.

Alternatively, you can click here and tick the Arsenal box to subscribe for our Gunners newsletter.

If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.

But as it stands it seems his role in the squad is as back up to the back up until the first team opportunities come his way.

With an increased squad size allowed for Europa League matches he will likely be involved for the crucial semi-final first leg against Villarreal on Thursday though.

With the futures of Lacazette and Nketiah still up in the air at the moment that may well be an indicator of what’s to come for the 19-year-old next season.





Source link

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on tumblr
Tumblr
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon