Mikel Arteta has blamed his predecessor for the situation around Folarin Balogun, whilst insisting that he wants to ‘give chances’ to the young forward.
The US-born youngster made his first senior appearance for the Gunners last night in the Europa League win over Dundalk, after a summer of speculation, where Sheffield United made a move to sign him.
The club managed to hold onto the 19 year-old, and are now looking to try and promote him into the playing squad, although he has competition in Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette for a central role.
The manager insists he Folarin is a player he likes however, and is frustrated by the situation which he inherited.
“He’s a player that I really like. Obviously, I’ve got this situation and I believe it’s later than what I would like because I wasn’t here when everything started to develop,” Mikel said after Balogun’s debut last night (via the Express).
“But yes, he’s a player that I would like to give chances to. That’s why he was in the squad today and I showed him that yes, we count on him and we believe in him and if he wants, he’s going to have a future in the club.”
Arteta seems to be keen on keeping the forward beyond his current contract, which is set to end in the coming summer, but how many opportunities in the remainder of the season may well play a role in negotiations.
How did you rate Balogun’s debut? Does he deserve to be considered for the first-team?