Folarin Balogun opens up on Arsenal exit

Folarin Balogun revealed that people higher up at Arsenal made the transfer decision and insisted Mikel Arteta had nothing to do with it.

Folarin Balogun’s future became a big story at Arsenal during the summer. With their planned pre-season tour of the US, many had expected the 22-year-old attacker to feature on home soil more and make a case for himself ahead of the Premier League season.

Balogun had given Mikel Arteta a big reason to give him a chance to shine for Arsenal following a hugely successful loan spell in the previous season. The 22-year-old attacker scored 22 times in Ligue 1 for Stade Reims, as fans appeared excited to see him play for the Gunners.

Unfortunately for him, he made very few appearances during the US tour and was subsequently sold to Monaco in a reported €45 million deal. After another summer of heavy spending, Arsenal may have felt the need to sell one of their homegrown stars.

Balogun’s sale reflected positively on their books, considering the 22-year-old attacker was a homegrown talent for the Gunners. The striker had other clubs keen on him, with Chelsea also in the mix. The Blues were not prepared to meet Arsenal’s valuation and hence cooled their pursuit.

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Now, Balogun has opened up on what transpired around his exit. In his comments on 90 Min, the 22-year-old attacker revealed those higher up at Arsenal decided to sell him and absolved Arteta as the reason for his exit from the Gunners.

Balogun said, “[Arteta] didn’t really say much, he just said that – when I came back he just said well done, and he encouraged me to keep going,”

“Then me coming back in a pre-season, it was just more about me seeing whether I fit into his plans and seeing if I can continue to play some games.”

“He said that he would try to get me involved as best as he could, but of course he also told me that the people higher up were making decisions on me and seeing what would be best for me. So the conversations between me and him were good, but it was more about the club, what they wanted to do.”

Arsenal would have kept the striker for the current season, but Balogun made it abundantly clear he wanted a vital role. Considering the signing of Kai Havertz, along with the presence of Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus, Arteta placed the trust in the trio at the expense of the 22-year-old attacker.

Whether they made the right decision remains the question, considering the Gunners are back in the market for a new marksman. Ivan Toney remains linked with a move in January, but the Brentford star has an entirely different profile than Balogun.

At Monaco, Balogun has made an excellent start to life. Albeit a delayed debut, the USMNT striker has already notched three goals and an assist in five games for the Ligue 1 side, currently occupying the top spot in the standings.

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