Arsenal academy graduate Folarin Balogun is enjoying his time in Ligue 1 having been sent out on his second consecutive loan spell as he lives up to Thierry Henry’s billing.
Arsenal starlet Folarin Balogun appears to be living up to Mikel Arteta’s “Open” challenge after leaving Highbury hero Thierry Henry “Happy“.
The young striker joined French side Reims on a season-long loan this summer after spending the second half of last campaign with Championship club Middlesbrough.
Balogun has enjoyed an excellent start to life in Ligue 1, netting five goals and providing two assists in his first eight appearances of the season.
Despite that, his adoptive employers have struggled thus far and have won just one of those matches.
They sit in the relegation zone in the early French top-flight standings.
“Regardless, Balogun has earned praise for his performances from none other than Gunners icon Henry. Speaking to Prime Video at the weekend, he said:”I’m really happy for him because in general English players don’t go abroad – normally players are loaned either to another Premier League side or in the Championship.
“He’s a very English-style player who likes to run down the channels but he was missing something, which was his finishing. He’s now starting to score goals regularly and I’m happy for that, happy he has gone abroad. It’s especially so considering he is a Londoner – in general Londoners struggle to leave London.”
“When I heard he was coming to France, it made me think he has a refreshing mindset.”
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Balogun has revealed the words of advice he was given by Arsenal boss Arteta upon sealing his loan exit to the continent.
The Spaniard instructed his young forward to gain experience not only as a player, but more so as a person.
“He said:”Before I moved, Mikel just wanted me to develop as a man.
It was kind of like an open answer and it was for me to interpret what he meant by ‘develop as a man‘.
“By moving abroad, I’m starting to learn what he meant by that. It doesn’t just mean on the pitch but also off the pitch. I think by the time I go back, I’ll be in a better place to compete than I was before I left.”
It remains to be seen whether the 21-year-old will be able to challenge for a starting berth once he returns to North London at the end of the season.
He will likely find himself behind Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah in the Gunners‘ attacking pecking order.
He only signed a new deal at the Emirates Stadium a year-and-a-half ago – a contract that is set to run until the summer of 2025.
Balogun has made 10 appearances for the Arsenal first team.
His only senior goals for the Gunners came against Molde and Dundalk in the Europa League.