Arsenal youngster says Nicolas Pepe & Alexandre Lacazette advised him to leave

Young Arsenal star Folarin Balogun has revealed that former teammates Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette urged him to move to France on loan.

Arsenal news, exclusives and analysis

Balogun is currently enjoying a very productive loan spell at Reims, where he has scored eight and assisted two in 15 appearances.

While he has made just 10 appearances for the Gunners so far, Balogun has a great reputation, helped in part by his form for the England U21s with whom he has scored seven goals in 13 matches.

After spending the last-half of last season on loan to Championship side Middlesborough, where he impressed despite a low goal tally, there was plenty of interest surrounding the 21-year-old from English clubs.

It was surprising therefore to see him move to Ligue 1, but the striker has now revealed that he was motivated to do so by the two former Arsenal stars who have had great success in France.

‘I spoke to Laca and Nico before making the move,’ Balogun told The Athletic.

‘Laca told me he thinks it’s a good league for me and that I needed to start playing. Then Laca left and I spoke to Nico when we were in America on the pre-season tour.

‘He could see during that time I was a bit upset because I wasn’t playing. He just said to stay positive, keep working hard and then he said to maybe think about a loan to the French league.

‘”I’m sure you can do well in this league if you apply yourself”. He set me a challenge of getting 10 goals in the league and said, “If you do that, you’ve made progress”.

‘He just gave me a lot of encouragement. I took it on board, but I didn’t think too much of it at the same time. Later on, I heard the interest from France and I’m sure what he said was in the back of my mind somewhere.’

As mentioned, Balogun is already well on the way to hitting double figures for Reims, something that will go a long way in his development as he looks to challenge Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah in the Arsenal pecking order.

Lacazette and Pepe both earned big money moves to the Emirates off the back of great success in Ligue 1 at Lyon and Lille respectively.

After five decent years in north London, striker Lacazette returned to Lyon on a free over the summer and has started as he left off with nine goals in 15 games so far this season.

Meanwhile Pepe, still Arsenal’s record signing, is trying to recapture his best form on loan at Nice having struggled under Mikel Arteta, and so far the winger has six goals across 18 matches.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

Follow Metro Sport for the latest news onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Source: Read Full Article