Get To Know… Folarin Balogun
An introduction to our latest new recruit of the January transfer window…
- Folarin was born in New York, New York on 3 July 2001.
- His family emigrated to England when he was two years old, and he grew up in London.
- Making a name for himself with Sunday league side Aldersbrook, Folarin very nearly signed for north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur before agreeing a deal to join Arsenal’s Academy in 2012.
- Folarin has been a prolific goalscorer throughout his time in the Gunners’ youth setup. He featured in the 2017/18 FA Youth Cup final as a 16-year-old, and in 2018/19 fired Arsenal’s Under-18s to the league title with 25 goals in 19 games as well as a number of assists.
- His progress was rewarded with his first professional contract at Arsenal, which he signed in February 2019. Folarin was linked with a move across the capital to Brentford in July 2020, but instead remained at Arsenal and became a fixture for their U23 side.
- Folarin made his senior debut for the Gunners in October 2020, coming on as a substitute in a Europa League group stage match against Dundalk.
- He scored his first senior goal the following month, also in the Europa League, just a minute after being introduced as a substitute against Molde. He netted another and provided an assist in the return fixture versus Dundalk, again after stepping off the bench.
- In April 2021, Folarin signed an extended contract with Arsenal, and went on to make his Premier League debut against the Brentford on the opening day of the current season.
- As well as a handful more first team appearances, Folarin has been in sensational form for Arsenal’s development side so far in 2021/22, with 13 goals in 11 PL2 games as well as two in two in the Papa John’s Trophy.
- Having been born in the States to Nigerian parents, Folarin is eligible to represent both those countries as well as England. He represented the US at U18 level at a tournament in the Czech Republic, scoring twice in four games. Having also turned out for England’s U18s, he has since gone on to play for the Young Lions’ U20s and U21s.
- Known for speed, trickery and finishing, Folarin has said the players he looks up to most are Edison Cavani and Robert Lewandowski, while Arsenal legend Martin Keown has compared his playing style to that of another Gunners great, Ian Wright.