Folarin Balogun says Arsenal boss Arteta's pre-season decision 'frustrated' him
Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun has revealed that he was frustrated after Mikel Arteta didn’t give him an opportunity in pre-season last year.
The 21-year-old is one of the Gunners’ most talented young players. He is a phenomenal striker and his performances on loan at Reims this season have made him a household name in France.
Balogun has now revealed why he decided to go out on loan to Ligue 1.
Folarin Balogun says Arsenal boss Arteta’s pre-season decision ‘frustrated’ him
Back in 2021, it looked like Balogun was going to leave Arsenal on a free transfer.
The talented striker had just a few months left on his contract and despite Arsenal’s best efforts, there was a period where he seemed to be on the verge of an exit.
However, Arteta and Edu convinced him to stay at the club, and Balogun signed a new contract in April 2021.
The youngster spent the second half of last season on loan at Middlesbrough and he wanted to show his quality in pre-season when Arsenal went to the United States.
Arteta, however, didn’t give him a chance, and Balogun has revealed he was a bit frustrated at that point.
He told Arsenal.com: “Last summer, I went on tour with the first team to America. And I didn’t get any playing time out there, so I was a bit frustrated.
“It’s one of my dreams to just play in the first team.
“I had to be realistic at the same time. I spoke to Mikel (Arteta) and he gave me a few options. And together, we decided it’d be best for me to come to France.”
Balogun didn’t get an opportunity at Arsenal, but he has been outperforming every Gunners forward this season.
The 21-year-old has scored 16 league goals for Reims so far. That’s more than Arsenal’s top scorers Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard, and also Ligue 1 superstars Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Balogun has now definitely shown he has what it takes to score regularly. His goals against PSG and Marseille – the best two sides in France at the moment – show he can deliver against the big sides too.
The young striker will be back at Arsenal at the end of this season, and it will be interesting to see if Arteta will give him an opportunity then.
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