Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed that injury has prevented young star Folarin Balogun from taking any significant part in Arsenal’s pre-season tour of the USA this summer after the USMNT striker was spotted training alone.
The future of the 22-year-old striker has been cause for debate this summer so far, with the attacker having already ruled out another loan move away from the club, meaning that he will either be integrated into the squad or sold this summer.
During his season on loan in Ligue 1 Balogun found the net an impressive 22 times as well as providing three assists, shooting himself into the spotlight of plenty of European sides in the process, and it is believed that Arsenal are holding out for a fee in the region of £50m for the youngster.
Arteta had previously that he will use the pre-season tour of Balogun’s new nation to come to a decision on the matter, but Balogun didn’t feature against Manchester United or Barcelona and was spotted undergoing solo training away from the main squad earlier in the week.
Quizzed on his absence, the Gunners boss revealed that it was an injury which has kept him out, and that playing him ‘was a risk’.
“He wasn’t available. He had a foot injury and he hasn’t been training with us. It was a risk. We have to see, he has to be fit and available to play minutes.”
Also absent from the squad that beat Barcelona 5-3 at the SoFi stadium was Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has so far missed all of pre-season with an injury that he suffered in the final weeks of the last campaign.
However, Arteta was confident that the influential Ukrainian would be back soon.
Alex [Zinchenko] he had a little muscular issue, I think he will be back soon”, he told the media. “It’s a shame that he hasn’t been with us (on the pitch).”
Record signing Declan Rice also missed the clash with Xavi’s side after what was described as ‘a strong kick’ in training, but there is confidence that he will not miss any further pre-season action.