Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has hailed Folarin Balogun as a top talent before revealing that he has been advising him.
Balogun, 19, has refused to sign a new Arsenal contract as he doesn’t see a pathway for himself to the club’s first team.
The Arsenal first team already has Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah as strikers. Folarin knows that it won’t be easy for him to get first-team chances.
The Gunners are looking to keep hold of him and Mikel Arteta offered him the taste of senior football in Arsenal’s last Europa League game against Dundalk.
Aubameyang has now revealed that he likes the young striker and claimed that he has been mentoring the club’s youngsters.
He says he does speak to them, but the best example that he wants to set for them is by scoring the goals for them to see.
‘We saw the young boys do well in the last game in the Europa League against Dundalk,’ Aubameyang wrote in Arsenal’s matchday programme ahead of Thursday’s game.
‘They are ready. They showed that in that game. That’s why we are doing well – because everybody is preparing properly and ready when needed.
‘Flo Balogun was one of those who came on in the last game. He is very, very talented, for sure, and he shows every time he plays with us that he’s a really great talent.
‘He works hard and is a humble guy as well. I love his style – he’s like an American rapper – he’s cool! ‘We get on well, I don’t see him that much, but when he trains with us we have a laugh, with Laca as well.
‘Maybe I am a mentor now to these younger players when they watch me training or in the games. I will always try to advise them when I can, but I’m a guy who likes to do jokes first!
‘But of course I can give any words to them that will help them, I will always do that.
‘It’s nice to be a mentor because before I was in their place and now I’m older, I think the most important thing is to show an example on the pitch.
‘It’s not about talking all the time, it’s about showing what you can do on the pitch, what you can do in training.
‘They just have to see that, put in their bags and play their game.’
Balogun is a huge talent, hopefully, Auba’s influence will prompt him to remain at the club and prove he is worthy of a first-team slot.