Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has admitted that he could leave the club in the future as he refuses to close the door on a potential exit. It comes amid an impressive season on loan in Ligue 1 with Reims, where he has become a regular both in starting and in finding the back of the net.
It’s the next step for the 21-year-old’s development, having spent the second half of the previous campaign on loan at Championship side Middlesbrough. While he showed glimpses of his ability, the start he has had in France eclipses that, scoring six in his opening 11 games in the division.
It means the youngster has one more goal than PSG star Lionel Messi, with a better goal per 90 rate than the iconic forward so far too. It suggests there is a promising forward there for Mikel Arteta to consider on his return. though there is plenty more football to be played before the end of his loan.
“Before I moved, Mikel just wanted me to develop as a man,” Balogun said when discussing the decision to send him on loan. “It was kind of like an open answer and it was for me to interpret what he meant by ‘develop as a man’.
“By moving abroad, I’m starting to learn what he meant by that. It doesn’t just mean on the pitch but also off the pitch. I think by the time I go back, I’ll be in a better place to compete than I was before I left.”
While he only signed a contract extension last April, his growing influence and stature in football could see the desire for the Gunners to tie him down to a new deal – with his current one expiring in two years once he returns to the club. However, the youngster admitted that his future at the club level is open as well as at the international – being available to both England and the USMNT.
“Just like my future at club level, I am not closing any doors regarding international selection,” Balogun told L’Equipe, via GFFN. “All options remain open.”