MIKEL ARTETA has confirmed that Arsenal are close to announcing Folarin Balogun’s new deal after the striker reportedly turned down 15 clubs.
It was reported on Friday that the 19-year-old was to extend his stay at the Emirates after months of uncertainty surrounding his future.
Balogun – who has chipped in with two goals and one assist in four Europa League games this term – was poised to depart North London at the end of the season on a free transfer.
But the England youth international is believed to have been convinced to stay following talks with Arteta where he reassured him he will be more given first-team chances.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s crucial quarter-final second leg tie against Slavia Prague, Arteta said: “We are going to make it official when it’s official and everything is done.
“But as I said before, I have always been very positive that he wanted to stay at the club. We are very close.”
Asked how Balogun was persuaded to stay, Arteta added: “Just by trying to, first of all, understand why he got to the point that he was really thinking about leaving the football club after being raised here and the feelings that he had built towards the club.
“Once you understand the position of him, then try to explain what you want to do, how involved he is going to be in the project and how.
“Then, get the full commitment from the club and support from Edu, who I think has done an incredible job as well.”
Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano declared in the winter transfer that the teenager was chased by an abundance of clubs scrapping to secure his services.
And Romano has once again stated that Balogun – who has agreed a contract until 2025 – rejected a number of offers to remain at Arsenal.
He tweeted: “Folarin Balogun has signed his new contract with Arsenal until June 2025, done and completed.
“He received more than 15 proposals to sign as a free agent – Bayer Leverkusen made the biggest one.
“Edu Gaspar and Arteta convinced Balogun to stay and sign a new contract.”
Stuttgart and Rennes were also said to be interested in the youngster who has banged in nine Premier League 2 goals this season.
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