Arsenal are historically one of the biggest clubs in England. The Gunners have long been criticized for their inability to end their title drought for close to two decades. Their last title triumph was recorded in 2003-04 when they finished the entire season ‘undefeated’ and were nicknamed ‘invincibles’. They also received the “Golden Trophy”, becoming the only club in the world to achieve such a prestigious honour.
When the legendary football figure, Arsene Wenger parted ways with the club, things weren’t really going well in the first few years. Unai Emery who was at the helm of the club failed to steer the club to the top-four spot in the 2018/19 season. Unai Emery-led team lost to Chelsea in the Europa League final in 2019. Emery was fired a couple of months into the 2019/20 season, making way for fresh footballing brain, Mikel Arteta.
Ever since he took charge of the club in December 2019, Arsenal ran through a transition gradually. The club got better over time and the players started to believe in Mikel Arteta and the fans started to trust the process as well. The players that didn’t fit the bill parted ways with the club. Under Mikel Arteta, a fresh breed of youngsters started to flourish and some of the best names include Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Ødegaard.
In the previous campaign, the Gunners were almost close to lifting the title but let the opportunity slip away from their hands. Manchester City went on to become the EPL champions of the last season. Case in point, Arsenal are known for its reputation to produce talented prospects from the academy. One of the youngsters who impressed all of us was Folarin Jerry Balogun.
EPL 2023-24: Mikel Arteta plans to make a decision over Folarin Balogun’s future
Arsenal academy product, Folarin Balogun couldn’t make it to the first team at Arsenal. As a result, he was sent out on loan to Ligue 1 club, Reims. Notably, he performed incredibly well and even outscored Lionel Messi and Neymar by scoring 22 goals in 39 games during his loan stint. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s manager plans to make a final call over the 22-year-old star’s future at Arsenal following the club’s pre-season schedule.
Balogun starred in the club’s recent pre-season friendly fixture against FC Nürnberg but failed to find the back of the net, despite getting two good goal-scoring chances. It remains to be seen what the future holds in store for the youngster, who attracted interest from five European clubs after his performance for the French side in the last season.
“He’s done incredibly well. Now we have to think about what is best to do. We want to see him, we want to experience him in the next few games, he played the last game against Nuremberg and he will play in the next few games. Then we’ll make the best decision,” Mikel Arteta added in a statement.
Balogun also opened up about his future at Arsenal recently. “I obviously went away and the point was to prove I could play first-team football. I feel I was able to do that and show people I can play at that level. I think with me coming back it’s not really much of a situation where I think I can need to try extra hard to prove something, I think it’s a decision that’s not really with me. Whatever happens, I’m cool with it.”