Arthur Okonkwo: Nigerian goalkeeper promoted to Arsenal first-team

Having impressed with the Gunners’ youth team, the teenager has now progressed to the club’s senior squad

Arthur Okonkwo has been promoted to Arsenal’s first team; the English Premier League club has confirmed.

The 19-year-old goalkeeper joined the likes club’s senior team after signing a long-term contract with the Emirates Stadium giants.

Okonkwo has been with the Gunners as an under-9 player before he was signed as a scholar in July 2018.

In the 2020-21 campaign, he trained with the first team regularly and also travelled with the squad as a third choice goalie.

Club’s manager Mikel Arteta is excited to see the teenager join his team and is looking forward to seeing him develop and improve his goalkeeping.

“We welcome Arthur to the first-team squad. We are so happy another academy player has come through our system at the club,” the Spaniard told the club website.

“Together with Arthur’s huge talent and hard work, we thank our colleagues at the academy for developing Arthur in recent years to get to this stage, they are doing great work with the players’ development here and should be really proud.

“Arthur was working and travelling a lot with the first team last season and we have all seen his quality at first hand.

“He is a strong young goalkeeper with great potential and we’re so pleased he has signed a new deal. He has absolutely earned his place in the first-team squad.

“Arthur will now join us every single day in training, where we look forward to watching him continue to develop and improve his goalkeeping.

“I know all our fans will join me in congratulating Arthur on this positive step in his career.”

This sentiment was also echoed by Arsenal’s technical director and former Brazil international, Edu.

“The work of our academy and development of young players for the first team is a huge part of what we stand for as a club,” he said.

“They have produced some top players in recent years all of who have a special connection with the club and our fans.

“It’s great that we have our third goalkeeper who has progressed from our academy and we look forward to seeing more young players coming through. Arthur has worked hard to get this far and we’re confident he’ll have an exciting future.”

Okonkwo will wear jersey number 33 for the 2021-22 campaign as he would be hoping to rival Runar Alex Runarsson and Bernd Leno for a place in the starting XI.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, he is eligible to represent the Super Eagles at senior level despite playing for England at U16, 17, and U18 levels.

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