Arthur Okonkwo appears to have joined Arsenal’s growing list of goalkeeping injuries, with the 17-year-old missing out on the u18s match against Leicester City on Tuesday.
Okonkwo missed out on the u18 squad in the Tuesday lunchtime kickoff, with Arsenal youth expert Jeorge Bird writing that it ‘looks like Okonkwo is injured as well’. That’s in addition to the problem Deyan Iliev suffered against the Tottenham Hotspur u23s, and the injury Karl Hein picked up earlier this month.
As it stands, Arsenal are now down to their last two professional goalkeepers, Petr Cech and Bernd Leno. There are other young keepers on the books, such as Tom Smith, youth loanee James Hillson and schoolboy Hubert Graczyk, but none on professional deals, and none you would reasonably expect to be ready for a first-team call-up.
Fortunately, the EFL rules state that you can recall a goalkeeper from loan outside the transfer window if you only have one professional goalkeeper left available. If Cech or Leno do pick up a problem in the next week, Arsenal would be able to bring back Emi Martinez or Matt Macey to fill in.
That wouldn’t be an ideal solution, because once you’ve recalled a goalkeeper in that way, you can’t send them back out again. However, it would be better than the alternative of sticking someone with no experience on the bench for crucial first-team matches. Hopefully, it won’t come to that anyway.