‘This young boy is fire’ – Everything you need to know about Folarin Balogun
Arsenal are reportedly set to sell Folarin Balogun this summer, despite the forward being considered one of the most promising young attacking talents in England.
Balogun has entered the final 12 months of his deal at the Emirates Stadium and, according to The Athletic, is seeking a fresh challenge after failing to agree terms on a new contract.
The 18-year-old is a prolific goalscorer at youth level, and we’ve brought you the lowdown on the talented prospect.
Who is he?
Born in New York in July 2001, Balogun moved to England at the age of two and his family settled in London.
After playing for Sunday League side Aldersbrook, he had a trial period with Tottenham but eventually decided to join Arsenal when he was 10 years old.
The teenager scored 28 goals in 28 matches across all youth competitions last season as the Gunners won the Under-18s Premier League title.
He was promoted to the Under-23 side in 2019-20 but that hasn’t slowed him down, scoring 10 goals and registering four assists in 15 appearances in Premier League 2.
Balogun is yet to make his competitive first-team debut for the Gunners but was an unused substitute during a League Cup third-round victory over Nottingham Forest.
Arsenal reportedly rejected a £5million offer from Brentford for the forward in January 2020, while he has also attracted interest from a number of Europe’s top clubs.
He has represented both England and USA at under-18 level and is also eligible to play for Nigeria on the international stage.
Another game, another goal 🔥
— Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) February 18, 2020
Where does he play?
Balogun is an instinctive striker and clinical finisher with either foot, consistently finding the bottom corners with power and precision.
He has also displayed quick feet, blistering pace and excellent movement to run in behind defences.
But Arsenal are spoilt for choice in the striker department with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli all ahead of Balogun in the pecking order.
What he said
“I am the sort of striker that likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender and make runs behind them, similar to the way that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plays,” Balogun told the official Arsenal website in March 2019.
“I’ve trained a few times with the first team and I feel that I’ve benefited from being involved with them, especially when playing against experienced defenders, which forces you to find different ways of getting in on goal as what works at lower levels does not always work against them.”
What they’ve said
– “This young boy is fire,” Aubameyang tweeted in March 2019.
– “Flo Balogun is like a young Eddie Nketiah up front because he gets into good positions and always scores goals,” Reiss Nelson told the official Arsenal website in March 2018.
– “I know most of the Arsenal players and this is a very talented player to have in any team,” Nigeria’s Under-20 head coach Paul Aigbogun told BBC Sport in March 2019.