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Okonkwo: Nigerian goalkeeper completes Crewe Alexandra loan move from Arsenal

18:02 BST 29/07/2022
Arthur Okonkwo
The 20-year-old is expected to offer competition to Dave Richards in the lower division

Nigeria prospect Arthur Okonkwo has joined League Two side Crewe Alexandra on loan from Arsenal, the Premier League side have confirmed.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, he is eligible to represent the Super Eagles at the senior level even though he has played for England at U16, U17 and U18 levels.

"Arthur Okonkwo has joined League Two side, Crewe Alexandra, on a season-long loan," Arsenal’s confirmation statement read on Friday.

"The 20-year-old goalkeeper joined our academy aged eight and has continually impressed throughout the age groups.

"Having been promoted to the first-team at the beginning of last season, Arthur featured in our matchday squad seven times.

"We wish Arthur all the best for his loan spell at Crewe Alexandra and look forward to seeing his continued development.

"The deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes."

In their statement, Alexandra said the youngster is arriving to provide competition for their first-choice goalkeeper.

"Crewe Alexandra are delighted to confirm the signing of Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo on a season-long loan," the statement read.

"The highly-rated 20-year-old hailed as a ‘huge talent’ by Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, is seen as a key part of the future at Emirates Stadium and penned a long-term contract with the club last year.

"Arthur stands at 6ft 6ins tall and was part of Arsenal’s 33-man tour to America earlier this summer.

"Now the England youth international has been brought in to provide stiff competition for Dave Richards, in what is his first loan move.

"Arthur, who will wear the number 13 shirt for Crewe, has been registered in time to be eligible for our first game of the League Two season at Rochdale tomorrow [Saturday, July 30, 3 pm]."

While welcoming Okonkwo to the club, manager Alex Morris said the goalkeeper was their primary transfer target.

"We are delighted to sign Arthur. Arsenal have been exceptional in facilitating the deal, we have got a great relationship with them," Morris said.

"He was our number one target right from the start of the summer. He has great stature, he’s a good shot-stopper and has a good record of saving penalties. I believe Arsenal have aspirations of him playing in their first team in the future, but for now, he is here to help us."

After he was promoted to Arsenal’s first team in July 2021, he trained with the first team regularly and also travelled with the squad as a third-choice goalkeeper in the 2020/21 season.

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