Folarin Balogun reveals Arsenal pal and former team-mate urged him to quit club before joining Reims on loan transfer | The Sun

FOLARIN BALOGUN has lifted the lid on advice from two stars who urged him to move to France's Ligue 1.

The highly-rated 21-year-old joined Reims on loan from Arsenal in the summer.

Balogun has enjoyed a stellar start to life in France, scoring an impressive eight goals in 15 games.

And in doing so he has proved Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe right.

Lacazette, who left Arsenal in the summer, and Pepe, who is currently on loan at Nice from the Emirates, both told Balogun to test himself in Ligue 1.

The New York-born England U21 international talked to both players before making the switch.

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Balogun told The Athletic: "I spoke to Laca and Nico before making the move.

"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."

Balogun revealed that Pepe had spotted he was frustrated with his lack of game time at the Emirates.

The striker continued: "He [Pepe] could see during that time I was a bit upset because I wasn’t playing.

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"He just said to stay positive, keep working hard and then he said to maybe think about a loan to the French league. [He said] '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."

Balogun, who has two goals in 10 appearances for Arsenal, spent the second half of last season on loan at Middlesbrough.

He had options to stay in England over the summer, but decided to take a risk by heading abroad.

And he is already reaping the rewards of his decision.

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