Folarin Balogun: Things to Know About the Arsenal Youngster

Ross Kennerley
Folarin Balogun was on the verge of leaving Arsenal this summer
Folarin Balogun was on the verge of leaving Arsenal this summer / MB Media/Getty Images
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Folarin Balogun announced his arrival in Arsenal's senior squad in impressive fashion, scoring his first goal for the club in a Europa League win over Molde in November.

The 19-year-old has been touted as the 'next big thing' to come out of the Arsenal academy for quite some time and has recently even been linked to Liverpool.

Wait, what's that? You don't know anything about him? No worries, friends, we've got you covered.


He's a New Yorker

Balogun was born in New York City in 2001
Balogun was born in New York City in 2001 / Noam Galai/Getty Images

Does living two years in New York City count?

Probably not, but it's where Balogun was born back in 2001. Oh, and his middle name is Jerry, one of the single most iconic names in sitcom history relating to the 'city that never sleeps'.

No, doesn't cut it? Fine. We'll move on.


He's Trialed at Premier League Rivals Tottenham

Balogun drew attention from across London before his teens
Balogun drew attention from across London before his teens / Jack Thomas/Getty Images

First plying his trade with Sunday League side Aldersbrook, Balogun took part in trials across London, most notably with Tottenham. Kind of like a reverse Harry Kane, if you will.

While all the clubs he trialed at saw promise, Balogun eventually opted to join Arsenal at the age of ten, and the rest is history.

It would seem that it's about to be the end of this particular chapter in history, though.


Balogun Has Scored for Fun in the Youth Side

Balogun has been scoring for fun in the Arsenal youth sides
Balogun has been scoring for fun in the Arsenal youth sides / James Chance/Getty Images

Playing for the Under-18s last season, Balogun hit a whopping 28 goals in 28 matches across all youth competitions, playing a pivotal role in the Gunners winning the Under-18s Premier League title. This included two hat-tricks and another four-goal haul in a superb league campaign.

Such was his form that he was promoted to the Under-23s side for the current campaign, and his fine goalscoring from didn't let up despite the jump up in quality.

This time around, he's scored ten goals and notched a further four assists in 15 appearances in Premier League 2.


He's a Proper Centre Forward

Not in the 'over six foot, hangs around the penalty box and scores 15 headers a season' way, but more in the 'rarely ever drifts wide and dominates the centre-backs' manner.

He plays almost solely through the middle, using his wicked pace to play on the shoulder and unnerve defenders. He also boasts neat close control and smart movement, while his skill has been on show throughout his youth career with some mazy solo goals.

Helpful to that is his ability to play with either foot. As seen with the emergence of Mason Greenwood, who is more than adept on either side, having this trait can't be understated. It's rare, and it's highly beneficial.


He's Eligible for 3 National Sides

Balogun has eligible to play internationally for the USA, England and Nigeria
Balogun has eligible to play internationally for the USA, England and Nigeria / Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Having featured both for the USA and England at Under-18 level, there may be a scramble similar to the one surrounding his club deal if he continues to develop at the rate he's doing.

Alongside those nations, Balogun is eligible for Nigeria, so who manages to convince him to ply his trade for their nation could be an interesting development.


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Has Praised Him Highly

Having previously cited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as one of his role models, the young striker received praise from the man himself in 2019. A rather welcome lauding, if you ask me.

It hasn't stopped there, though. Reiss Nelson likened him to 'a young Eddie Nketiah up front because he gets into good positions and always scores goals'. Perhaps not on an Aubameyang level, but nonetheless, nice to hear from teammates.


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