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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has admitted becoming frustrated at the Gunners last summer, which paved the way for him to join Reims on loan instead of having a first-team role in London.
The Gunners spent £45m on Gabriel Jesus last summer and handed Eddie Nketiah a new contract, limiting the opportunities on offer to Balogun – that was immediately clear in pre-season.
“Last summer, I went on tour with the first team to America. And I didn’t get any playing time out there, so I was a bit frustrated,” Balogun told Arsenal’s official website.
“It’s one of my dreams to just play in the first-team. I had to be realistic at the same time. I spoke to Mikel [Arteta] and he gave me a few options. And together, we decided it’d be best for me to come to France.”
It has easily been a home run decision for 21-year-old Balogun, who has had the regular playing time he had been craving at this stage of his career.
Balogun has scored 16 goals in 26 Ligue 1 appearances from Reims and is only three behind the French top flight’s leading marksmen Jonathan David and Kylian Mbappe (both 19).
The American-born England Under-21 international has proven himself at top flight level and has staked his claim for a future role at Arsenal, where his contract runs until 2025.
90min understands that Arsenal are determined to keep Balogun around this summer and are preparing for talks with the young striker when his loan with Reims comes to an end.
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou reflects on whether Arsenal’s Europa League elimination by Sporting CP actually matters.
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