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Arsenal and Folarin Balogun aren’t close to a contract extension just yet, with the player wanting assurances over his involvement with the first team.
Speaking about Folarin Balogun’s situation with Arsenal, The Beautiful Game Podcast reveal that the player’s camp are looking for assurances the player will be given first-team opportunities after signing a new contract.
They don’t want him to agree a new deal just so Arsenal can sell him on to generate funds later. All the same, talks are ongoing, but there’s no agreement close at this stage.
On the one hand, I don’t think any of this should be particularly surprising. Of course one or two brief substitute appearances weren’t going to immediately lead to a new contract. It was always going to take a bit of time to sort out.
Balogun is also within his rights to ask questions about the potential for game time in the coming months and years. If he isn’t going to get any, there isn’t much point him staying.
At the same time, I do think there’s a slightly unrealistic expectation around many of the young players at the moment.
For every Serge Gnabry, you get a number of players who leave Arsenal for games and don’t end up getting them. Or players who drop down a division to play regularly and never come back up.
Meanwhile, plenty of Arsenal academy graduates are getting regular opportunities staying with the club. Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, and Emile Smith Rowe all joined Balogun in making an appearance on Thursday.
Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka are nailed-on starters in the Premier League. Sometimes that patience does pay off.
The point being, Arsenal do need to give some kind of assurances to Balogun, but we also have to hope his camp are realistic with what they’re asking for.