Tuesday, July 18, 2023

FINALLY! Folarin Balogun responds as Mikel Arteta lays out Arsenal transfer decision deadline

Folarin Balogun has insisted he is “cool” over whatever decision is taken on his future as Arsenal demand a £50million transfer fee for his services.

Inter Milan are leading the chase with RB Leipzig, AC Milan and Crystal Palace among the other clubs interested in the Arsenal striker. Inter had been pursuing a deal for Romelu Lukaku, but have now changed tack after seeing two bids rejected by Chelsea.

Balogun, 22, scored 22 goals in 39 matches while on loan at Reims last season and Arsenal could now be ready to sell at the right price. Yet it is a big asking price for a player who has not proved himself at Premier League level.

The striker, who recently committed his international future to the United States, is on tour with the Arsenal first team, but his future remains unclear. Balogun said: “I obviously went away and the point was to prove I could play first team football. I feel I was able to do that and show people I can play at that level.

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“I think with me coming back it’s not really much of a situation where I think I need to try extra hard to prove something, I think it’s a decision that’s not really with me. Whatever happens, I’m cool with it.”

‌Balogun has also insisted that he is happy to be back in the United States. His declaration to play for America, rather than England, means he is a hugely popular figure across the Atlantic.

He added: “It’s amazing. It’s always nice to be back here. The weather’s something you notice. It’s always hot. I’m happy to be back here. It’s been a long time since I was wearing these (Arsenal) colours and I’m sure the opposition we’re going to be playing against is a good level.

“As I’ve said the last two months since I first linked up with the team and went to Vegas and played with the national team, it was the best two months of my life. It was such an amazing experience, I learnt so much. I can’t put it into words.”

Balogun featured in their recent pre-season friendly against Nurnberg on Friday and is set to play in upcoming games against an MLS All-Star XI on Thursday in Washington DC and against Manchester United in New York on Saturday.

Arteta remains relaxed about the youngster’s situation. Asked for his thoughts on Balogun’s future, he said: “Great, because he’s done incredibly well and now we have to think what is best to do.

“We want to see him, we want to experience him in the next few games. He played the last game against Nurnberg and he will do again in the next few games. Then we will make the best decision.”

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