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By Martin Graham | 27th Mar 2023
Folarin Balogun has refused to categorically commit his future to Arsenal and has opened the door to a potential exit, while also speaking about details a recent conversation with club legend Thierry Henry.
The 21-year-old as strongly impressed on loan at Reims, scoring 17 times in 27 Ligue 1 appearances this season. That tally means only Lille’s Jonathan David and PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe (both 19 goals) have scored more than the Arsenal youngster.
The Gunners are already well stocked on attacking options, though, with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah both vying for the striker role and January recruit Leandro Trossard adding even more firepower.
It remains to be seen whether Balogun will return to the Arsenal first team next season – or if the Gunners will decide to sell him in the summer – and the youngster says he will speak to the club at the end of the season.
Balogun comments on his future at Arsenal
Asked if he sees a future for himself back at the Emirates, Balogun told Ligue 1’s website: “Yeah I mean, contractually I have to go back. Because the loan was only for one year so that was always the agreement.”
“But I wouldn’t, um, I’m not sure what is going to happen in the future. A lot could happen in football, a lot could change. It just depends on the conversations we have between me and the club in the summer, and we’ll see what happens.”
Asked if he might consider returning to France next season – either on loan or in a permanent deal – Balogun added: “Yeah I mean there’s no door that’s closed.”
“Of course I have had a good year here and to a lot of people it makes sense for me to come back here. So yeah I mean I don’t know what the future will bring.”
On whether he has kept up with Arsenal’s progress in the Premier League, he replied: “I can’t not really. Every time I turn on my phone and I see their scores, and I just see some of my friends, obviously I still speak with them, and yeah, I’m buzzing for them.”
“A lot of them have worked so hard, and I’ve seen it over pre-season. They deserve it, to be where they are. I just hope they can bring it over the line.”
“I’ve grown up with Bukayo [Saka], especially, since maybe the age of 13s, 14s, and to see what he has achieved in the first team, I take inspiration from that.”
Balogun also had the opportunity to speak to Arsenal legend Henry prior to facing Paris Saint-Germain. The legendary ex-Gunners forward was on punditry duty for the game.
Asked what Henry said to him, Balogun revealed: “He told me to just go for it, believe in myself. He was encouraging me to run in behind, and to really cause problems to their back four.”
“It’s always good to hear this before the game. I had an in-depth conversation, maybe 20-30 minutes, talking about just life in France and what I want to achieve this season.”
Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer