Arsenal starlet Folarin Balogun taking ‘huge inspiration’ from Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe

George Flood
·2-min read
<p>Folarin Balogun has penned a long-term deal at Arsenal</p> (Getty Images)

Folarin Balogun has penned a long-term deal at Arsenal

(Getty Images)

Arsenal teenager Folarin Balogun is taking inspiration from the respective swift rises to first-team prominence of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe after signing a new contract.

On Monday afternoon came the eagerly awaited confirmation that highly-rated forward Balogun has now officially put pen to paper on a long-term deal in north London, just months after it looked very likely that he would be taking his talents elsewhere at the end of the season.

Balogun’s previous contract had been due to expire this summer and he had attracted plenty of interest from teams in Germany’s Bundesliga, most notably Bayer Leverkusen.

However, the 19-year-old is pleased to be staying put at Emirates Stadum and is intent on following the shining example set by fellow youngsters Saka and Smith Rowe as he looks to quickly add to his six senior appearances for Arsenal.

Both players are fellow academy graduates that have gone on to prove themselves as key first-team players under Mikel Arteta.

Balogun revealed he is also being helped along in his development by tips received from the likes of Gunners captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and fellow striker Alexandre Lacazette.

“Bukayo and Emile have shown me that if you just stick at something for long enough, eventually it will pay off,” he told Arsenal’s official website.

“I take huge inspiration from them. I thought both of them seemed ready when they were called up each and every time. I thought they definitely prepared, not just physically but also mentally, for the challenges. I think that's something I've learned from them.

Balogun is taking inspiration from Gunners pair Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith RoweArsenal FC via Getty Images
Balogun is taking inspiration from Gunners pair Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith RoweArsenal FC via Getty Images

“Every time I come over, all the lads are friendly but in particular I would say the strikers' union [have helped me most]. Laca, Auba, Eddie [Nketiah], we all talk, we all get along and laugh.

“They're just continuously trying to give me little tips here and there, things to help me improve my game. That’s good to see.”

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