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'I'm not sure about the agent' - Arteta unclear over Balogun's future as contract talks drag on

07-Jan-2021, 05:02 pm

Folarin Balogun Arsenal

Mikel Arteta says he is unsure whether Folarin Balogun’s agent wants the young striker to remain with Arsenal.

But the discussions have yet to find an agreement, raising the possibility of Arsenal losing the forward in the summer, with the likes of Liverpool, Sheffield United and Brentford all said to be interested.

Arteta remains hopeful a deal can still be done, but admits he is unsure exactly what Balogun’s agent is thinking.

“You need three parties to make a deal,” said the Arsenal boss. “For sure, the club wants to make a deal, the manager wants to make a deal, the player wants to stay and I’m not sure about the agent.”

When asked if he thought Balogun’s agent was stopping the talks progressing, Arteta added: “I’m not saying he’s stopping, it’s that we need to find an agreement with him.

“We are negotiating with an agent, with a player that wants to stay at the club and we need to find an agreement.

“I’m telling you that we are doing everything we can to keep him here and hopefully from the other part they are doing the same and in the same interest, which is the player’s interest, which is to stay at the football club and be successful with us.”

Balogun, who is represented by Elite Project Group, has scored twice in five senior appearances for Arsenal and is expected to be involved on Saturday when the Gunners begin the defence of the FA Cup with a third-round clash against Newcastle.

“He is fit and available,” Arteta said. “His progression and the use of the time he’s had with us has been incredibly good and he will keep having chances while he is with us.”

Meanwhile, Arteta says he has reminded all his players about their responsibilities amid the rise of positive coronavirus cases in the Premier League.

The last two rounds of testing have generated 40 positive tests and several high-profile players were caught over the Christmas period breaking the strict Covid protocols that have been put in place.

“We have to be very aware of that and we have to be very strict,” said Arteta. “Players, like any public person, have to be more aware than anybody else.

“There are a lot of people that don’t respect rules. They are out there, they don’t get noticed, they can get away with that.

“We are luckier than anybody else because we are still being around the players, we can still do our job and continue with our professions and we have to bear in mind that everything we do has other consequences and how other people act doesn’t.

“At the moment we cannot let anybody down. You know people are sacrificing their lives to help the society in this moment and what we have to do is contribute, contribute, contribute and don’t give anymore issues - neither to the public, neither to the government, to make a decision that we don’t want.”

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