Folarin Balogun has revealed that he was training with both Arsenal and Tottenham at the same time before the Gunners eventually offered him a contract.
Balogun came through the youth ranks at Arsenal and has gone on to make ten senior appearances for the club since signing his first professional contract in 2019. The Hale End academy product has also featured 13 times for England Under-21s over the past year and a half.
The centre-forward joined Rennes on loan in the summer and has impressed since his switch to Ligue 1, having scored eight goals and provided 2 assists in 14 matches so far (Transfermarkt).
The 21-year-old is thought of quite highly at the Emirates and will be hoping to make an impact with Mikel Arteta’s men when he returns to the club next season.
However, Balogun has now admitted that he could have easily signed for Spurs as the Lilywhites also offered him a trial at the same time when he was just 11 years of age.
He told Ligue 1’s official website: “On the way back (from a tournament), in the car, I was trying to take out dirt from between my studs when my dad gave me a business card, the one from the man that was speaking to him earlier, a scout from Arsenal who had offered us to come to a trial the following week.
“Between that news and winning the tournament, I was delighted. What a feeling! I couldn’t believe it.
“It lasted five to six weeks, but after four weeks, my dad got a phone call from Tottenham. They were also offering me one. We hesitated because Arsenal were meant to give us a decision soon. It was a bit delicate… In the end, my dad was taking me to Arsenal training on Monday, Thursday and Friday.
“And the others days of the week, I was training with Tottenham. It was intense because as well as playing for the two teams, I was going to school, of course. Everything ended well since Arsenal eventually offered me to sign, and we accepted.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The big London clubs are often scouting in the same talent pool in the city and find themselves battling it out for the same young players.
The challenge for clubs like Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea is to hang on to these players and facilitate a pathway to the first team, which is something the Gunners have done quite well over recent years.
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