Arteta explains why Balogun did not play against Manchester United amidst Inter Milan links

Folarin Balogun is guaranteed European experience if he joins RB Leipzig

FOOTBALL Arteta explains why Balogun did not play against Manchester United amidst Inter Milan links

Mark Kinyanjui 16:06 - 23.07.2023

The Spaniard opted to start Eddie Nketiah against Manchester United on Saturday, leaving Balogun's future uncertain.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained why American striker Folarin Balogun did not play a part during their 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in their ongoing US pre-season tour on Saturday.

It was the third game of the Gunners' pre-season and the second in the American leg but posed a much bigger challenge following games against Nurnberg in Germany and a disjointed MLS All-Stars side on Wednesday morning. United themselves had also played twice in preparation for the 2023/24 campaign.

After a successful loan in France with Stade de Reims, Balogun is fighting for his place in the side with competition for a striker spot coming in the form of Nketiah, Gabriel Jesus and also Havertz.

Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard have also featured as a centre forward for Arteta in the past year as he experiments with his options in a dangerous and fluid frontline. Balogun, though, is not content with a squad role and wishes to push for consistent first-team minutes.

With Balogun once more left on the bench, Arteta appeared to be going with those that are certain to be at the club for the upcoming season. Hower, the Spanish coach has revealed that Balogun may play a part in their next game against Barcelona in Los Angeles

“We had some options up front as well and we wanted to load some players, that’s why some players today didn’t have any exposure, but they will in the next game,” Arteta said.

Balogun is now tasked with proving his worth to the team in pre-season whilst the issue of his future lingers on, he will have to make such an impact from the bench once again.

Speaking after the win over MLS All-Stars, he opened up on his desire, saying: "My aim is to build on last season. I was away on loan. I wanted to make an impact and show people I can play at the level and I felt like I did that. Me coming back here, I just want to earn my stripes and build on what I did last season.

He added: "I'm just here in pre-season just enjoying it. I try and not look into the future, I let my agent and family handle those sorts of things. For sure, I'm happy being here. I'm just enjoying every minute. I'm just looking forward to the future."

It is a big tour for Balogun, who has become a superstar in America after confirming his allegiance with the country earlier this year. 

He has already scored his first goal for the national side and was influential in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final and final wins for USMNT as well.

It continues a trend of good form away from Arsenal but now the aim is to show just what he can do when he gets the chance. Give Eddie Nketiah has flattered to deceive in the three games he has played so far, Balogun may stake a claim against the reigning La Liga Champions on Wednesday.