Arsenal youngster refusing to give up first-team battle
When Arthur Okonkwo signed a new three-year deal at the Emirates Stadium last month, it was made clear by the club that he would take the position of a number three goalkeeper.
However, a month on, another Hale End academy product looks to have overtaken him in the pecking order. He goes by the name of Karl Hein.
The 19-year-old had a more confident demenour when manager Mikel Arteta gave him minutes in pre-season in Scotland. That is vastly due to the fact that Hein is already a full international, having made eight appearances for the Estonia national team.
On the other hand, Okonkwo was at mistake for the first goal conceded by Arteta’s men in the very first game of pre-season against Hibernian. He also looked shaky overall and not ready for the jump up in the first team picture.
18-year-old Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein kept a clean sheet in a Nations League match with Estonia today against Georgia.
His first competitive clean sheet in a senior international fixture. pic.twitter.com/QJChOl5u8Q
— Dan Critchlow (@afcDW) November 18, 2020
The resurgence of Hein in the past month was rewarded with an inclusion in the matchday squad in Arsenal’s opening day fixture against Brentford. Despite travelling with the squad, Okonkwo was not given the nod to be the team’s back-up goalkeeper by Arteta.
The fight for the first team’s third keeper looks good and it is still unknown that who will ultimately establish that place. A very good problem to have on ones hands.
But what everybody knows is that Arsenal need to bring in a back-up goalkeeper to Bernd Leno.
After the shocking display at Brentford Community Stadium on Friday, if Arsenal acquire the services of any goalkeeper who has good amount of experience or potential, it won’t be surprising if he replaces the German altogether.
The 29-year-old’s distribution have been called out several times since his move from Germany in 2018, and one thing (reflexes) which he was good at, does not stand out anymore.