United States men’s national team striker Folarin Balogun has revealed some interesting information regarding his move away from Arsenal and boss Mikel Arteta this summer. The center forward switched from the Gunners to French side Monaco in a deal worth up to $42 million.
Balogun claims that his transfer was not exactly up to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. Instead, the coach told the striker that other people at the club made the call. “[Arteta] didn’t really say much, he just said that when I came back he just said ‘well done,’ and he encouraged me to keep going,” Balogun told ESPN in a recent interview.
“Then me coming back in a preseason, it was just more about me seeing whether I fit into his plans and seeing if I can continue to play some games.”
Arteta told Balogun ‘people higher up’ at Arsenal determined future
Balogun featured for the Gunners during multiple preseason matches earlier in the summer. However, he was then left out of the Premier League squad at the start of the season. A transfer was imminent.
“[Arteta] said that he would try to get me involved as best as he could, but of course he also told me that the people higher up were making decisions on me and seeing what would be best for me,” continued Balogun. “So, the conversations between me and him were good, but it was more about the club, what they wanted to do.”
Arsenal fans debated whether or not the club should keep Balogun or Eddie Nketiah. Both players are fairly similar stylistically and the team had to choose between the two. Gunners’ brass eventually picked Nketiah and sold Balogun. The USMNT forward has already racked up three goals in five Ligue 1 matches with his new team. Meanwhile, Nketiah has just two goals in 10 total fixtures for Arsenal.
Gunners coach has influenced key transfers in recent months
Arteta’s influence regarding major decisions at Arsenal has grown with time. The Spaniard initially started with the club as a head coach in late 2019. However, team brass appointed Arteta as manager less than a year later. The move meant that the coach increased his impact on the club.
Since signing on as manager in 2020, several high-profile players have claimed that Arteta’s influence was a significant factor when signing for the club. Declan Rice previously admitted that the coach was a major reason why he chose Arsenal over Manchester City. Gabriel Jesus, Jorginho, and Kai Havertz have also made similar claims as well.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportsphoto
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