View: Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun is rising up to Mikel Arteta's challenge during Reims loan
Prior to his Reims loan this season Folarin Balogun revealed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta asked of him – and he’s certainly rising to the challenge.
Arsenal boast one of the youngest squads in the Premier League and possess so much attacking talent that Folarin Balogun’s progress came to a halt right on the brink of the first team.
But the 21-year-old striker opted to go out on loan and show Mikel Arteta what he’s missing. He spent the second half of last season at Championship club Middlesbrough and is now enjoying a temporary stay at Ligue Un side Reims.
In his eight appearances for the club, Balogun has netted five goals and recorded a further two assists. On top of that, he’s done it in a side that still sit in the relegation zone despite his contributions.
It’s the kind of form that Arteta simply can’t ignore, and if Balogun keeps up his productive run there’s no reason he can’t return to north London next season and challenge for a spot in the side.
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Balogun’s progress is exactly what Arteta wanted to see, but the Spaniard didn’t just want to see the New York-born striker succeed on the pitch.
Instead, Balogun revealed to The Mirror that Arteta’s challenge was to “develop as a man”.
Heading to a new team, in a new league, in a new country is definitely going to help Balogun mature both on and off the field.
Taking himself out of his comfort zone has seemed to give Balogun a huge confidence boost, and he’s already beginning to tap into his huge potential.
Gabriel Jesus will be difficult to dethrone as Arsenal’s No.1 choice striker, but Balogun can certainly prove himself good enough to challenge the Brazilian for his place in the squad next season.
As of now, Arsenal fans should keep half an eye on the results in France this season – Arteta definitely will be.
In other Arsenal news, Danny Murphy has slammed Arteta’s decision to play Ethan Nwaneri