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Balogun on Monaco move: Arsenal exit was ‘out of my hands’


MONACO — United States forward Folarin Balogun has told ESPN that the decision over whether he remained at Arsenal last summer was out of his control.

Balogun joined Monaco in a deal worth up to €40 million ($42m) in August and has made a fast start, scoring in three of his first five games, despite two rare penalty misses against Nice, with his team sitting top of Ligue 1.

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In an exclusive interview in Monaco with ESPN, when asked about his conversations with Arteta after returning from loan at Reims, Balogun said: “He didn’t really say much, he just said that when I came back he just said well done, and he encouraged me to keep going.

“Then me coming back in a preseason, it was just more about me seeing whether I fit into his plans and seeing if I can continue to play some games.

“He said that he would try to get me involved as best as he could, but of course he also told me that the people higher up were making decisions on me and seeing what would be best for me. So the conversations between me and him were good, but it was more about the club, what they wanted to do.”

ESPN reported in the summer that Balogun was keen to play first-team football after enjoying a successful year on loan at Reims — where he scored 21 league goals.

However, amid interest from Inter Milan and Chelsea, Arsenal chose to agree a deal with Monaco.

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“It [his future up in the air] wasn’t something that made me feel anxious, it was just more a case of seeing what wanted to be done,” Balogun added. “It was out of my hands, that’s how I felt. It wasn’t something I could control.

“The only thing I could do was just turn up to train and work hard. So I did that. And then after training, I enjoyed being back in London. I saw my friends, caught up with my family.”

The 22-year-old has been called up the USMNT squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Ghana.

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