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Sports director confirms push to sign Arsenal 21yo on loan

Sports director confirms push to sign Arsenal 21yo on loan

Arthur Okonkwo celebrating winning the OFB Cup with Sturm Graz (Photo via Okonkwo on Instagram)
Arthur Okonkwo celebrating winning the OFB Cup with Sturm Graz (Photo via Okonkwo on Instagram)

After a successful couple of loans with Crewe Alexandra and Austrian side Strum Graz this season, Arthur Okonkwo’s future is up in the air this summer.

The goalkeeper only has a deal with Arsenal until 2024, so a decision needs to be made on his next steps.

At this point, every option is seemingly still on the table. Okonkwo could stay for another year, he could extend his contract, he could extend and go on another loan, or he could leave on a permanent deal.

From Sturm Graz’s point of view, sports director Andreas Schicker suggested they’re hoping to bring the goalkeeper back to Austria.

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“We are still in the running for another loan, but there are also inquiries for him on the English market,” Schicker said.

“The priority for goalkeepers is also young and capable of development.”

Arthur Okonkwo playing for Sturm Graz (Photo via Okonkwo on Instagram)
Arthur Okonkwo playing for Sturm Graz (Photo via Okonkwo on Instagram)

Speaking earlier this month, James McNicholas of The Athletic suggested Okonkwo could still operate as Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper next season.

If the goalkeeper is willing to stick around, it should be a straightforward decision for the club to use him in that role. But outside interest could prompt him to push for a move.

Goal recently reported that interest in Okonkwo is mounting ahead of the summer window, with several clubs in England and abroad chasing a summer transfer.

There’s significant interest emerging from Germany, and an Arsenal departure this summer was described as a “strong possibility”.

Arthur Okonkwo signing for Sturm Graz (Photo via Sturm Graz)
Arthur Okonkwo signing for Sturm Graz (Photo via Sturm Graz)

The 21-year-old had an impressive season. He started out with League Two side Crewe Alexandra, keeping 10 clean sheets before Arsenal made the decision to recall him and loan him back out to Austria.

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The move seemed like a good idea, with Okonkwo jumping from fourth-tier English football to first-tier Austrian football, but it’s probably gone even better than anyone hoped.

The highlight of Okonkwo’s Sturm Graz spell was keeping a clean sheet in the final of the OFB Cup as his side lifted the trophy over Rapid Vienna.

Okonkwo had also made a save in the quarter-final penalty shootout win over RB Salzburg, and kept a clean sheet in the semi-final against LASK, so he was a key part of their trophy win.

On top of that, Okonkwo helped Sturm Graz push Salzburg to the end of the Austrian Bundesliga title race.

The Arsenal loanee made 44 appearances and kept 16 clean sheets between his two loan spells.

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  • June 25, 2023