Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will not give any more first-team minutes to Folarin Balogun until he commits his future to the club, according to reports. The 19-year-old has been linked with a move away from north London in recent weeks after refusing to sign a contract extension with the Gunners.
Balogun has been offered new terms but is yet to put pen to paper, meaning he could leave the club in the summer upon the expiry of his current deal.
The teenager can now speak to foreign clubs with a view to a free transfer, with Bundesliga heavyweights RB Leipzig said to be interested.
Liverpool have also been tipped to land the forward, either for a reduced fee this month or for nothing at the end of the campaign.
Balogun is said to be disheartened with a lack of senior opportunities at Arsenal, having played just five first-team matches this season.
However, it seems that he may be forced to wait for even longer amid the uncertainty surrounding his immediate future.
The club’s hierarchy are concerned that if Balogun were to come into Arteta’s side and make an impression, it would harm their chances of keeping him by attracting more clubs to his potential availability, according to All Nigeria Soccer.
The report claims that as a result, the 19-year-old has been informed that he will only be considered for selection if a new deal is agreed.
Balogun had been training with the senior squad in the days leading up to the match, which finished 2-0 to the Gunners after extra time.
Arteta suggested earlier this month that Balogun’s agent is proving a challenge to win over in negotiations, stressing that Arsenal are hoping to keep hold of the forward beyond the end of the season.
“You need three parties to make a deal,” he told Football.London.
“For sure the club wants to make a deal, the manager wants to make a deal, and I’m not sure about the agent.”
When pressed for further clarification, the Spaniard replied: “No, I’m not saying he’s stopping [the deal], it’s that we need to find an agreement with him.
“We are negotiating at the end with an agent, with a player that wants to stay at the club and we need to find agreement.
“I’m telling you that we are doing everything we can to keep him here. And hopefully from the other part they’re doing the same and defending the same interest which is the player’s interests which is to stay at the club and be successful with us.”
Balogun has made 10 appearances for Arsenal’s under-23 side this season, scoring four goals in the process.
The New York-born striker has also represented England at youth international level on 15 occasions.