Arteta reveals Arsenal are ‘very close’ to Balogun deal
Mikel Arteta has revealed that Arsenal are “very close” to securing a deal to extend Folarin Balogun’s stay at the Emirates Stadium.
After signing his first professional contract in February 2019, Balogun broke into the Arsenal first team this season by making five appearances in the Europa League and League Cup.
Balogun has represented England at youth level and was even linked with a transfer to fellow Premier League side Sheffield United last summer.
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However, Arteta and the Arsenal hierarchy are keen to see Balogun commit his long-term future to the club and Arteta confirmed reports that the youngster is on the verge of a new deal with the Gunners.
“We are very close,” Arteta said when asked about the 19-year-old’s future.
“We had to understand why he was thinking of leaving the club after he was raised here and then try to explain how involved he is going to be with the project and get his full commitment from the club.
“We will make it official when everything is done but I am very positive that he wants to stay.”
On-loan Real Madrid duo Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos have impressed in spells this season and Arteta says he will have “conversations” with them in due course over their future at the club.
“With the financial position we are in, have to find a different way to recruit good players and see how those players can improve the team,” said Arteta.
“I am really happy with both of them. Decision at the end of the season. We will have conversations with them – it is the same club.”
Arsenal face Slavia Prague in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday night after drawing the first leg 1-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Nicolas Pepe had come off the bench to seemingly win the game for the Gunners with his strike four minutes from time – but the hosts could not hold onto their advantage as Tomas Holes headed in an equaliser at the death.
And Arteta won’t even entertain the idea that Arsenal won’t be playing European football next season.
“I don’t want to transmit that to anybody at the club,” said Arteta.
“We had moments against Slavia [ in the first leg]. When you draw in the final minute, it looks different. Someone has to create when the team needs the moments. It doesn’t matter who.”
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