One-time Sheffield United target sets signs on leading Arsenal in future after signing new deal at Emirates
Folarin Balogun, a former Sheffield United target, has admitted his desire is to become a star with Arsenal’s first-team after ending speculation about his future by signing a new long-term contract at The Emirates.
The teenager emerged as a target for the Blades earlier this season, when their pursuit of Rhian Brewster dragged on and Lys Mousset picked up an injury in pre-season.
Balogun was out of contract this summer and United made an enquiry about bringing him to Bramall Lane.
“We made an enquiry regarding the young man at Arsenal,” then-Blades boss Chris Wilder said at the time.
“That’s been left with the CEO at our club and their football club. We want attributes that suit us and move us forward.”
But it never materialised, United did eventually sign Brewster and Balogun put pen to paper on a new long-term deal to keep him in London – before revealing how the dad of current Blade Ethan Ampadu played a part in his development.
“I came here at nine and remember coming into the training ground for the first time, and seeing all the older boys training,” Balogun said.
“I was just thinking to myself: ‘These are the same guys you see on TV’. From that age, straight away, I just had a drive and ambition to be that guy eventually.
“As time has gone on, I’ve seen loads of different coaches help me in my career. Now I could just see that the work I’ve put in over the years is starting to pay off.
“Kwame Ampadu, when I first came here at under 18s, he showed me tough love. But it was definitely something I needed at the time.
“My ambitions for next season are to make an impact in the first team. I see it as something that I’ve taken upon myself to be able to go over there and make an impact, not just be one of the numbers.
“I want to be somebody who eventually leads that group, so I would say I have quite driven ambitions. We’ll see if I can make them happen.”