Are Arsenal making a mistake in letting young goalkeeper leave?

  • The goalkeeper is set to leave the club this summer but this could be the wrong move
Okonkwo is set to leave the Gunners on a free
Okonkwo is set to leave the Gunners on a free / Ben Roberts Photo/GettyImages

Arsenal have announced which players will leave the club at the end of the season and Arthur Okonkwo is among those named.

Okonkwo has been at the club since 2009 and was promoted to the first team in 2021. Despite spending a season as the third choice goalkeeper, he never made a competitive appearance for the first team.

He spent the previous two seasons on loan at Crewe Alexandra, Sturm Graz, and Wrexham and impressed at all three clubs. As a result, some thought he would stay and get a chance with the Gunners but that doesn't appear to be the case. It begs the question, are Arsenal making a mistake in letting him leave?

Are Arsenal making a mistake in letting Arthur Okonkwo leave?

Arthur Okonkwo
Okonkwo had an impressive spell at Wrexham / Andrew Redington/GettyImages

Okonkwo really impressed during his time on loan at Wrexham last season. He kept 14 clean sheets in 36 league appearances, helping Wales' oldest side secure a second successive promotion in order to play in League One next season.

He finished as the fifth best goalkeeper in League Two in terms of clean sheets and at the age of 22, that is an impressive feat.

Okonkwo's efforts during his time at Wrexham should have earned him a chance to make a real impact at Arsenal next season, especially considering Aaron Ramsdale is almost certainly going to leave the club this summer.

With Ramsdale's departure, the Gunners are set to be in the market for a backup 'keeper and Okonkwo has the potential to be a decent Premier League second choice. At his young age, he also has time to mature and grow into a truly solid goalkeeper.

Arsenal have been poor in purchasing backups in recent years. Alex Runarsson was no where near good enough to be a Premier League second choice whereas Matt Turner was arguably too good to not be playing regular football. Due to this and the potential of saving money for more needed positions, it would have been a wise decision to keep hold of Okonkwo. The former England youth international seems to be perfectly rated to be a Premier League backup.

There is also a possibility that Karl Hein could leave the club on a free transfer with Arsenal with contract negotiations currently ongoing. If Hein is to leave the club along with Okonkwo, the Gunners will need to search for two shotstoppers.

Okonkwo is a far better goalkeeper than Karl Hein so it would have been a better decision to keep hold of him and let the Estonian leave on a free.

Regardless if Karl Hein also departs the club, Arsenal are no doubt making a huge mistake in letting Arthur Okonkwo leave the club, especially on a free transfer.