Folarin Balogun: Profile
Name: Folarin Balogun
Date of birth: July 3rd, 2001
Folarin Balogun: Introduction
It was greatly expected that Folarin Balogun would be leaving Arsenal at the end of the season having failed to agree a new contract with the club.
However, that all changed after it was reported that the 19-year old would be committing his future to The Gunners, sending plenty of expectant and hyped supporters into a state of surprise and delight.
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. ⚪️🔴 #AFC https://t.co/qXWfnrp5zW
â Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 14, 2021
The question will now be, can Balogun move forward into his senior career successfully and take the opportunities likely to present themselves.
Folarin Balogun: Background
Born in New York City, Balogun arrived in the UK and was spotted playing for Sunday League team Aldersbrook. The Gunners moved to snatch him away from their rival Tottenham’s clutches who were also interested in the forward.
Since, he has progressed through the ranks at the club and this season made his senior debut with the club. Balogun is eligible to play for a number of nations on the international stage but is still to decide who he will represent having so far played for both England and the US at youth level.
“I havenât yet declared who I will commit to internationally. I was born in New York, so can play for the USA. My parents were born in Nigeria and I have been in England since I was two years old, so I can play for both those countries too!” he said.
🏴 Congratulations to @England U-18s for winning the Pinatar Tournament 🏆
John-Jules, Balogun, Daley-Campbell and Okonkwo all featured in Spain 🙌 pic.twitter.com/aTXSJ62Hvv
â Arsenal Academy (@ArsenalAcademy) November 20, 2018
“I have several youth caps playing for England and I enjoy their style of play which is similar to Arsenalâs. I will be discussing matters with my parents and will then decide.”
His goal records at youth level are what have grown the hype around the forward. For the under-18s at Arsenal he finished the 18/19 season with 25 goals in 19 matches, all the while earning appearances for the under-23s despite his young age.
He was fully promoted in 2019, after signing a professional contract, playing 15 games & scoring 10 goals. He also got called up to the senior squad for the first time under Unai Emery in a 5-0 EFL Cup win over Nottingham Forest where he was an unused substitute.
This season, the protracted talks over his future have seemingly had an effect on his game but the goals have still come. 12 in 24 games this season including his first for the senior team.
Expert insight on Folarin Balogun
101 spoke with Arsenal youth football expert Next Generation Arsenal to get his view on Folarin Balogun.
‘One of the main reasons Folarin Balogunâs contract situation garnered so much attention wasnât just because of his goal record but more so because the young striker has all the tools to be a complete forward. Something that Arsenal donât really have.
‘At his best he could be described as a typical number nine, stretching the last line of defence with beautifully timed runs, great acceleration and cool finishes. However, there is much more to his game, he loves to drift into the channels and drive at defenders, committing them into uncomfortable scenarios.
‘He also possesses an array of finishes, displaying great composure when going through on goal but he can also hit the ball with exceptional force using either foot. This makes him very unpredictable to opposing Goalkeepers.
â Balogun (@fbalogun67) March 23, 2021
‘This season has been difficult under the cloud of the contract saga, but Balogun still managed to develop his game and improve his hold-up play and aerial ability. He found himself in new situations where he wasnât the furthest player forward and had to play with his back to goal.
‘This enabled the 19-year-old to adjust and adapt to these demands impressively. The news of a contract breakthrough, might just be one of the best deals Arsenal will cut for a long time.’
Tactical Overview of Folarin Balogun
Goals. That is what Balogun is about. The young striker has been a threat in the Arsenal youth setup for some time and it was evident when given his few senior opportunities this season that he yearns to be given the ball in attacking positions.
The below example shows what Next Generation Arsenal was referencing regarding the stretching of opposition defences. He can be seen always calling for the ball and driving at his opponents.
This style and desire did not hide away when playing with the senior side. In the match against Dundalk in the Europa League, despite the fact the Â£72 million Nicolas Pepe was this time the man in possession, Balogun could be seen again demanding the ball.
What followed was excellent movement, perfect timing and a finish which any true Arsenal fan could make the classic link back to the style of one of the all-time great Gunners forwards.
The final showcase of his talents in this brief assortment is his first senior goal. Coming on against Molde just seconds prior, Balogun displayed his intelligence in the box with his run, patience, reading of the game, close control and finally intelligent shot decision making.
Balogun though, as described by Next Generation Arsenal, has needed to add more than simply goals to his game. Working to link-up play and bring teammates into the game has taken on a greater focus over the last couple seasons.
The below examples display his hold up play, decision making regarding his passes and some flair thrown in too.
Despite coming on very late in the match against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter final, Balogun still had time to make an impression with a fine piece of control, dribbling, passing and movement.
There is all the hope in the world that Folarin Balogun can become everything that the likes of Eddie Nketiah, Chuba Akpom and Benik Afobe have failed to be. The contract offered to Balogun is sure to have been given with assurances that more first team opportunities will come and then it will be up to him to take those.
Expectation will begin early, it is now up to Balogun to repay the faith the club is showing in him.
Folarin Balogun: Official video
Folarin Balogun: Social sites
2021 Iâm coming…🔥🚨 pic.twitter.com/nQhp1CEa2u
â Balogun (@fbalogun67) January 4, 2021
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