The brother of Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has been blown away by the talent and potential of Bukayo Saka, labelling the winger ‘one of the best I’ve seen’ in conversation with the ‘What the Footie?’ Podcast.
The kids are alright at the Emirates.
Which is handy, given that Arsenal’s senior stars have, more often than not, flattered to deceive during the last two or three seasons.
Time and again, 20-year-old Saka, 21-year-old Emile Smith Rowe and 24-year-old Kieran Tierney have stood out; head and shoulders above the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian and Alexandre Lacazette in red and white.
While Saka was not quite at his buzzing, bustling best during Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Norwich City (a score line that flattered the visitors given that Arsenal mustered a staggering 30 shots at goal) it was still a performance full of purpose, pace and thrust from one of England’s, one of Europe’s most exciting young forwards.
Is Bukayo Saka Arsenal’s brightest talent?
“It is a very tough environment for a lot of them,” said Royce Balogun, the older brother of Arsenal’s New-York-born target man.
“You can tell that a lot of them are carrying weight on their shoulders. All of them have carried themselves with pride. I’ve seen Emile and Bukayo, especially Bukayo with what he’s gone through.
“Bukayo’s one of the best young ballers I’ve seen. He’s skyrocketed and never given up or got jaded by the success he’s had. It’s a good platform for other young ballers and people around him.
“If you keep going you just have to take your chance when you get it.”
While Saka and Smith Rowe are now firmly established as two of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet, the same cannot be said about Balogun – not yet, anyway.
Handed a surprise start on the opening day of the season away at Brentford, Balogun was subbed off just before the hour and has played just 11 minutes since.
He played for the U23s – albeit scoring twice – while Saka and co were carving their way through Daniel Farke’s defence on Saturday.