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Arsenal 'yet to offer new contract to promotion-winning goalkeeper'

Arsenal 'yet to offer new contract to promotion-winning goalkeeper'
© Reuters
Arsenal are reportedly yet to offer a new deal to goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo, currently on loan at League One-bound Wrexham.

Arsenal are reportedly yet to offer a new deal to one of their first-team goalkeepers, who could depart as a free agent this summer.

Twenty-two-year-old Arthur Okonkwo has been on the books in North London since 2009, coming through the Hale End youth ranks to make the fringes of Mikel Arteta's first team.

The Englishman appeared for the seniors in a friendly defeat to Hibernian in the summer of 2021, while he has also made the bench for the Gunners in the Europa League and Premier League.

However, Okonkwo is still waiting to earn his maiden competitive appearance for Arsenal, who have sent him out on loan three times to Crewe Alexandra, Sturm Graz and Wrexham.

On the back of winning the Austrian Cup with Sturm Graz last season, Okonkwo has been Wrexham's first-choice goalkeeper during the 2023-24 season, playing a fundamental role in the Red Dragons' promotion to League One.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on April 9, 2024© Reuters

Okonkwo to be at centre of transfer tussle?

The 22-year-old has kept 13 clean sheets while shipping just 29 goals in 34 matches in the fourth tier, earning himself a place in the League Two Team of the Season for his efforts.

Okonkwo will be back at Arsenal at the end of the season, but the former England Under-18 international is only under contract until the end of June, sparking major uncertainty over his future.

According to The Athletic, Arsenal have not tabled an extension for Okonkwo, meaning that the shot-stopper could find himself on the free agent market in a couple of months' time.

Should the 22-year-old indeed end his 15-year association with Arsenal this summer, the report adds that several teams will be expected to scrap for his services this summer, but it is unclear whether Wrexham will be involved in the transfer tussle.

The Red Dragons have apparently forked out under half of the goalkeeper's wages in the 2023-24 campaign, and increased wage demands could scupper his chances of a permanent move to the Racecourse Ground.

Three Arsenal goalkeepers to seek pastures new?

Aaron Ramsdale in action for Arsenal on December 12, 2023© Reuters

Despite Okonkwo's success in the fourth tier, the 22-year-old will not be viewed as a serious contender for the number one spot at Arsenal next term, at which point David Raya's loan from Brentford should have been made permanent.

As a result, the ex-England youth international could be one of three Gunners shot-stoppers to seek out a new adventure for 2024-25, a trio which also includes Aaron Ramsdale and Karl Hein.

As is the case with Okonkwo, third-choice goalkeeper Hein is out of contract this summer, and the Estonia international is not reported to be in any talks over an extension to the terms he penned in September 2021.

In contrast, Aaron Ramsdale's terms still run for another two seasons, but the former Sheffield United and Bournemouth man is thought to be pining for a move elsewhere after being demoted to Raya's understudy.

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