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Balogun signs new long-term contract at Arsenal to end uncertainty over future

13:39 BST 26/04/2021
Folarin Balogun Arsenal
The highly-rated 19-year-old will be staying at Emirates Stadium, with the New York-born youngster agreeing fresh terms with the Gunners

Folarin Balogun has brought any uncertainty surrounding his future to a close by signing a new long-term contract at Arsenal.

The 19-year-old forward, who linked up with the Gunners at the age of nine, has seen his rapid development in the youth ranks rewarded with senior recognition this season.

His obvious potential had been noted by clubs outside of north London as a previous deal ran down, but the New York-born youngster remains fully committed to Premier League heavyweights that gave him a big break.

What has been said? 

Arsenal's technical director, Edu, told the club's official website on getting Balogun tied to fresh terms: “It’s great that Flo will continue to be with us.

"He is a very promising young talent and has already shown so much quality in his performances. We are all looking forward to working with him during his continued development in the coming years.”

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta added: "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. The hard work starts here for Flo and we are all looking forward to supporting and working with him in the years to come."

Balogun said: "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."

Why were Arsenal so keen to keep Balogun?

Having overseen Balogun's rise to this point, the Gunners were understandably keen to avoid seeing a hot prospect slip their net.

The talented youngster signed his first professional contract in February 2019, but saw a move away from Arsenal mooted in the summer of 2020.

That speculation lingered as those behind the scenes at Emirates Stadium endeavoured to put a new deal in place.

Goal confirmed in early April that an agreement had been reached there, with pen now put to paper.

Arteta has handed Balogun a senior debut this season, with his bow made in a Europa League clash with Dundalk in October 2020, while a first goal for the Gunners was scored in another continental outing against Molde in November.

Away from a competitive stage, Balogun has continued to thrive in the youth ranks. He has hit eight goals through 18 appearances in the PL2 and EFL Trophy this season, with two in six managed at first-team level.

There is the promise of more to come from a youngster that has represented the United States and England on an international stage, with Arsenal ensuring that they will be the ones to benefit from any positive steps taken in the immediate future.

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