Balogun directly responds to Arteta and opens up on Arsenal future

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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun admits it is nice that Mikel Arteta has kept a close eye on his progress this season. But the youngster is not yet sure where he will be playing his football next term.

Balogun has shone during a loan spell at Reims so far this season. He has 17 goals to his name in Ligue 1, with only two players ahead of him in the goalscoring charts.

One of those is Kylian Mbappe and Balogun’s form led to high praise from Arteta last month. The 21-year-old is pleased that he has been able to impress the manager of his parent club.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s really positive that he could say these things and I mean I’m sure we’ll speak at the end of the season and we’ll have a lot of things to discuss. But it’s nice that he’s watching and paying attention to what’s going on, and yeah it’s good.”

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Balogun has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, with Gunners legend Emmanuel Petit among those urging his old club to cash in. There is interest from Italy after his breakthrough campaign in France.

He could return as the third-choice striker at the Emirates behind Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah. The New York-born star says a decision on his future is not just down to him.

He added: “There’s discussions that need to take place and it’s not a decision that will only be with me. The club will let me know their point of view and I’m sure we’ll come to an agreement.”

Arsenal are flying high at the top of the Premier League and Balogun is hopeful they can collect their first title since 2004. He said: “I’m seeing what they’re doing, I’m speaking to some of my friends at Arsenal and I’m just wishing them the best.

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“But if they can bring it home I’m sure I’ll be delighted and I’m sure I’d not be the only one who’d be happy. But there’s still a few games left so you can’t get too excited.”

Speaking in February, Arteta outlined his delight at seeing Balogun succeed. He said: I’m so happy for him. He’s a boy that has a really clear idea of what he wants to do with his career. He’s really ambitious, really committed and really brave.

“I’m really happy for him because he deserves what he’s getting. When you look at the numbers and what he is doing, it’s just incredible. It’s very rare to see that.”

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