Mikel Arteta says a foot injury has been behind Folarin Balogun’s absence during Arsenal’s tour of the United states.
After making an appearance as a substitute against the MLS All-Stars, Balogun missed the 2-0 defeat by Manchester and the 5-3 success against Barcelona.
His absence has left many wondering whether the 22-year-old striker could be set for a move away, with Inter Milan believed to be interested in signing him before the end of the transfer window.
But – following Arsenal’s impressive victory against Barcelona – Arteta provided an explanation behind Balogun’s whereabouts.
“He wasn’t available,” said the Arsenal boss. “He had a little foot injury, and he hasn’t been training with us, and he wasn’t available to us, that was the reason.”
When asked whether Balogun had a future with the team, Arteta added: “Yes, we will have to see. First of all, he has to be fit and available to play minutes.”
Arteta also gave an update on the fitness of record signing Declan Rice, who missed the win against Barcelona and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who has played no part in pre-season so far.
“Dec had quite a strong kick in training and didn’t want to take the risk,” said the Spaniard. “He wasn’t comfortable to train yesterday and today, and we decided not to play him.
“With Alex, he had a muscular injury again, unfortunately. He’s getting back – I think he’ll be back soon, but it’s a shame that he hasn’t been with us the whole tour.”