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Young Arsenal keeper heading to League Two on loan

Last season’s third in the nets for the Gunners set for a big test.

Arsenal on Pre-Season Tour in the USA Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Last season Arthur Okonkwo earned his first professional contract as he became Arsenal’s third goalkeeper and a regular on the bench throughout the year. But with a pair of young stoppers also in contention for that split U23/bench role, Okonkwo is getting the opportunity to test himself at the senior level for the first time. The club announced a season-long loan to Crewe Alexandra in League Two.

Okonkwo’s Path to Date

With the club since age know the rest. Okonkwo made his U18 debut during the 2016/17 season before becoming their regular keeper the season after. For the 20/21 season, he moved up to the U23s where he has spent the last two years splitting time with Karl Hein, as well as stepping in as the first team’s third keeper role occasionally. Last summer (July 2021) he signed a three-year deal officially joining the first team.

Goalkeeper Depth Chart

  • Starter: Aaron Ramsdale
  • Backup: Matt Turner
  • Depth: Bernd Leno (but expected to transfer to Fulham before the start of the season)
  • U23 Primary / 3rd Keeper for the 1st Team: Karl Hein
  • U23 Backup: Tom Smith

Destination - Crewe Alexandra

After a solid promotion campaign into League One in 2020-21, finishing 12th, that work was quickly undone with a frustrating and long season last year. Crewe finished 24th, eight points adrift of 23rd and 11 points away from safety. Now back in League Two, but as one of the contenders, the club will be looking for a reset and immediate promotion. After letting in the second most goals last season (83) Okonkwo should have a great opportunity to challenge for the starting role.

Arsenal will be able to evaluate how Okonkwo performs in League Two while also getting Karl Hein more familiar with how the first team operates.