Arsenal: Folarin Balogun reacts to making his debut for the club
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Arsenal youngster Folarin Balogun appears to be edging closer to a summer departure with no progress being made on a new deal. The 19-year-old has been at the centre of a long and drawn-out saga regarding his future in recent months, with the club keen to tie him down to professional terms, but the player himself is believed to be frustrated at a lack of first-team action this season.
Balogun has played just five times for Arsenal’s senior side since the beginning of the campaign, with his opportunities restricted to Europa League group stage action and a solitary Carabao Cup appearance.
The attacker is regarded as one of the club’s finest young talents, impressing in the Premier League 2 this season with seven goals in 14 appearances for the under-23 side.
However, it appears as though the Gunners could be set to fail in their increasingly desperate attempts to keep hold of him.
Despite the two parties engaging in talks since before the festive period, the situation has not moved any closer to its resolution.
A deal is still yet to be signed and sealed, with Balogun also the subject of offers from a number of other clubs in England and abroad, according to football.london.
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The prospect of Balogun staying in north London appears to have been diminished further by Arsenal’s decision to offer a professional contract to one of his fellow Hale End stars.
Kido Taylor-Hart, who has provided 10 goal contributions in just nine appearances for the club’s under-18 side this season, has received the offer of a senior deal.
Despite his tender years, the 18-year-old has already been trusted to make the step up to under-23 level, replacing Gabriel Martinelli from the substitutes’ bench in a Papa John’s Trophy clash with AFC Wimbledon in December.
The move suggests that the Gunners are turning their attention away from Balogun and towards their other young academy talents.
Mikel Arteta has claimed on a number of occasions that the New York-born striker wants to stay at the club, telling reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley that transfer chief Edu is aiming to pull out all the stops in order to secure the teenager’s future.
“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,” said Arteta.
“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.”
Speculation over Balogun’s immediate plans was fuelled last week when he deleted all of his Instagram posts and his profile picture, leading some fans to believe that he was aiming to distance himself from the club with his actions.
He has been with Arsenal since the age of eight, choosing to join the Gunners over bitter rivals Tottenham who were also keen to snap him up.
His first senior goal for the Gunners came in November against Molde, with the youngster turning his marker and finishing coolly to seal a comfortable 3-0 win for the Premier League side.
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