Arteta admits regret over Arsenal call for ‘incredible’ gem

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Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal should have granted Folarin Balogun a loan transfer “sooner” than in January when he finally joined Middlesbrough, via quotes from

The Spaniard opted to keep Balogun in north London for the first half of the season after promoting the forward to a first-team role. He had made his senior debut last season and his potential was outstanding at Emirates Stadium before signing a long-term contract extension.

But the decision backfired a bit as the 20-year-old only played four times for a total of 133 minutes. His appearances have also included just one start in the Premier League and one in the Carabao Cup. Arteta also left Balogun out of 18 top-flight squads after the second game.

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Middlesbrough successfully capitalized on Balogun’s missing minutes at Arsenal during the January window to secure his loan transfer. The New York-born gem has also been quite comfortable at Riverside Stadium so far, making 15 appearances in 15 games in all competitions.

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He has also scored two goals and provided two assists in the Championship under Chris Wilder. Balogun’s first Boro goal came off the bench in a 4-1 loss to promotion rivals Sheffield United earlier this month. Boro is behind the Blades and two points off the playoff spots.

He also faced Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea as the Teesside natives reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. And while Balogun failed to score against any of the Premier League’s top six, Ian Wright called him “incredible” before Balogun started the clash at Old Trafford.

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal ‘probably’ should have loaned Balogun ‘sooner’

Given how Balogun started with Middlesbrough, Arteta now feels Arsenal should have approved a loan transfer sooner. Although his and Wilder’s systems differ, the chance to play regular first-team football in a championship side aiming for promotion is a huge advantage.

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“I think Flo is doing what he has to do,” Arteta called. “We probably should have done this earlier. He plays in a different formation under a manager and a club with great history. This gives us more information and details about the best move for him in his future.” Arteta admits regret over Arsenal call for ‘incredible’ gem

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