Perhaps the most high-profile contract saga ever involving an Arsenal youth player is finally over, with Folarin Balogun having signed a new deal with the club that is set to run until the summer of 2025.
There has been much speculation regarding the forward’s future but he has finally put pen to paper on a new contract and will be looking to add to his six senior appearances so far.
Balogun has created a buzz at Arsenal over several years, with his performances for the youth teams having often been of a very high standard.
First spotted playing for Sunday League side Aldersbrook, Balogun went on trial at Tottenham Hotspur but ended up joining Arsenal instead.
Having progressed through the ranks at Hale End after joining at the age of nine, Balogun signed scholarship terms in the summer of 2017 and he went on to make a huge impact at U18 level.
In total Balogun scored 38 goals in 41 games for the U18s, playing a pivotal part as they won the Southern section title two years ago. He also featured in the run to the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2018.
Balogun also scored for the U23s against Liverpool in his first season as a scholar and he is now the club’s captain at that level, having scored 22 goals in 48 games.
First-team recognition has followed and his two goals in the Europa League, against Molde and Dundalk, provided an indication of the quality he possesses.
Balogun’s clinical nature in front of goal has always been a key strength of his, while his link up play is also of a very high standard.
This season he has showed greater signs of maturity when playing for the U23s, often being used on the left wing and creating chances with regularity while still posing a goal threat himself.
Balogun is yet to make his Premier League debut but it looks very likely that he could achieve that objective before the end of this season.
The youngster should also play a prominent part in pre-season and it is likely that he will be officially promoted to the first-team squad in the summer, with further opportunities to follow.
There remains uncertainty over Balogun’s international future – he is eligible to represent the United States, England or Nigeria – but the main thing is that his club future has finally been resolved and he will now be looking to make a similar impact to the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.