Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s role in Folarin Balogun’s Arsenal breakthrough
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has played a major role in Folarin Balogun’s rise at Arsenal.
The 19-year-old is one of the hottest prospects at the club after scoring goals for fun at academy level.
However, he is locked in a contract dispute with the Gunners and was close to leaving in the summer.
But Mikel Arteta is keen on keeping hold of the teenager and was happy to give him a chance in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Balogun repaid the faith shown in him by scoring the third goal in a 3-0 win over Norweigan champions Molde.
A popular figure among the younger players at the club, Aubameyang played a pivotal role in Balogun’s breakthrough.
Speaking in Arsenal’s programme for the match against Molde, Aubameyang said: “Flo Balogun was one of those who came on in the last game.
“He is very, very talented, for sure, and he shows every time he plays with us that he’s a really great talent.
“He works hard and is a humble guy as well. I love his style – he’s like an American rapper – he’s cool!
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“We get on well, I don’t see him that much, but when he trains with us we have a laugh, with Laca [Alexandre Lacazette] as well.”
Aubameyang, 31, as Gunners captain has admitted he is happy to take on the role as mentor.
He continued: “It’s nice to be a mentor because before I was in their place and now I’m older, I think the most important thing is to show an example on the pitch.
“It’s not about talking all the time, it’s about showing what you can do on the pitch, what you can do in training.
“They just have to see that, put in their bags and play their game.”
Arteta was over the moon for Balogun, insisting he wants to stay at the club despite growing interest in his sevrices.
He said: “He’s working really hard as well. He had some difficult months as well. We had some speculation around him.
“He’s handled the situation in a really mature way. He wants to stay, we want him to stay. We gave him the opportunity and he took it straight away.
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