Bayer Leverkusen emerge as latest suitors for in-demand Arsenal starlet

Date published: Friday 12th February 2021 7:54 - Sam Charlton

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Emile Smith-Rowe, Folarin Balogun

Bayer Leverkusen have become the latest team to register their interest in promising Arsenal talent Folarin Balogun, according to the Mirror

The 19-year-old looks increasingly likely to be leaving the Emirates when his contract expires this summer.

As things stand, the young striker is unconvinced that he will be given opportunities in the first team. That is despite Arsenal being keen to retain him.

He has made just five senior appearances this term, scoring twice. But he is still yet to been handed a chance in the Premier League.

With the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah ahead of him, he is reluctant to put pen-to-paper on a new contract as his pathway appears blocked.

Therefore, the Gunners face losing him for free at the end of the season. And there is a host of teams waiting to pounce.

Juventus are one of them, with the Italian champions hopeful he could succeed Ronaldo at the Allianz Stadium.

RB Leipzig are another side in for the Balogun, although reports that he has agreed a pre-contract with the German outfit were denied.

Folarin Balogun

 

Premier League rivals Manchester United, Stuttgart and Rennes are also admirers of the USA-born forward.

Now, Bundesliga team Leverkusen are looking to tempt another young English talent to Germany.

The progress of the likes of Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham have tempted others to follow in their footsteps, and Leverkusen will be hoping Balogun will be the next.

With game time said to be of importance to him, the chance to flourish with Leverkusen could be tempting. However, Juventus is believed to be his favoured option.

Arteta not conceding defeat

Although most expect Balogun to depart, one man who hasn’t given up hope on keeping him is Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard has regularly stated that he wants him to stay in North London and remains confident he will.

Asked whether he thinks he will leave, Arteta said: “No, I’m still very positive that Flo is going to stay with us. It’s what we’re trying to do as a club, and it’s what I’m trying to do as a manager.

 

“As far as I know from last week, the player wants to be here.”

Regardless of Arteta’s optimism, though, Arsenal have a fight on their hands to keep Balogun beyond his current deal.

READ MORE: Arsenal are reportedly closing in on a deal to sign a Sporting Lisbon youngster.

 

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