Even though he's yet to make his Premier League debut for the Gunners, there's already a genuine combination of excitement and mystique surrounding teenage striker Folarin Balogun.
With news that the 19-year-old is close to agreeing on a contract extension with Mikel Arteta's North Londoners, fans of the club are breathing a collective sigh of relief that they won't be losing a top prospect for free.
Born to Nigerian parents in New York on July 3rd 2001, Balogun moved to England when he was two and he joined the Arsenal youth setup in 2008 when he was still only eight years old. In February 2019 he signed professional terms and debuted for the club in October 2020.
The buzz surrounding Balogun online, especially Twitter, is already something to behold. Balogun's productivity in front of goal has only served to fuel the fire - two goals and an assist in five appearances is a decent return, and it's come in just 74 minutes of playing time.
Balogun is too smooth pic.twitter.com/wg6ru6ZMUW— A. (@Armziinho) April 9, 2021
Clinical strikers don't grow on trees and Gooners around the world are understandably hyped that Balogun possesses that quality.
More than 15 teams registered a serious interest in signing Balogun as a free agent, that's according to Fabrizio Romano at least, a strong indication of the regard in which his talent is held around the continent. Bayer Leverkusen was reported to be frontrunners with the best offer on the table, but Arsenal has edged closer to a new agreement to keep him at the club.
It's understood that manager Arteta and technical director Edu were key figures in convincing Balogun that Arsenal is the right place for him to develop - after all, it's a place he has been since he was eight years old. When Balogun puts pen to paper, a trio of talented teenagers would have committed their futures to Arsenal in the past 12 months, following Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli. It's clear that project youth is of paramount importance.
From what we've seen of him, Balogun looks like a slick finisher who's economical in his approach to hunting down chances and tucking them away. He scored his first professional goal for the Gunners within 37 seconds of coming onto the pitch as a sub against Molde.
First Folarin Balogun's pro goal in an Arsenal shirt came vs Molde.— AfcVIP⁴⁹ (@VipArsenal) April 9, 2021
It took him only 37 seconds after coming on to score. 😳pic.twitter.com/XpcBAELZg4
🤨 What next?
We'll have to wait and see. If and when Balogun pens his new terms at the Emirates Stadium, we might sneak a peek of him in Premier League action before the season is out.
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