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Mikel Arteta sends defiant message to exciting Arsenal talent who he ‘really likes’

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has sent a defiant message to striker Folarin Balogun after the youngster was handed his first-team debut as a second-half substitute against Dundalk.

The Gunners boss spoke to the media after the game and told Metro that the teenager has a future at the Emirates Stadium, advising him that the path towards the first-team is clear.

Balogun has rejected the offer of a new deal at Arsenal amid fears that he won’t receive first-team football – although Arteta has moved to ease such fears.

(Photo; Linnea Rheborg; Getty Images)

The 19-year-old was linked with a move to Sheffield United during the summer with several Bundesliga clubs also monitoring his contract situation.

Arsenal are desperately keen to keep hold of a player who has scored for fun in the development ranks and Arteta has made his position clear on the young talent.

He told the Metro: “He’s a player that I really like.

“Obviously I’ve got this situation and I believe it’s later than what I would like because I wasn’t here when everything started to develop but yet, he’s a player that I would like to give chances to.

“That’s why he was in the squad today and I showed him that yes, we count on him and we believe in him and if he wants, he’s going to have a future at the club.”

TBR View – Time for Balogun to commit his future

The United States-born striker fired 10 goals in the Premier League 2 last season for the under-23 ranks. He is powerful, intelligent and ultimately knows where the back of the net is.

(Photo; Alex Burstow; Getty Images)

Balogun being told he can have a future at Arsenal should be music to his ears and he might choose to open contract negotiations once more.

Arteta has placed his faith in the young guns since he arrived at the club and Balogun could be the latest player to emerge from the conveyor belt of talent.

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