Karl Hein appears to be seriously challenging Arthur Okonkwo for Arsenal’s fourth-choice goalkeeper spot, despite previous reports to the contrary.
As you may be aware, Arsenal had no room to name Runar Alex Runarsson in their Europa League squad for the knockout stages, meaning the club only have Bernd Leno and Mat Ryan as senior options in the squad.
As a result, the fourth-choice goalkeeper spot at Arsenal suddenly takes on a fair bit of importance.
Whichever youth player fills the role will be travelling to European matches as a backup on the bench, and may even end up becoming second-choice in the competition if there are any injury or suspension issues for Leno or Ryan at any point.
In addition to all that, Runarsson is currently injured. Arsenal report that he sustained a strain to his knee in training, and is currently being assessed. So the same applies in the Premier League until Runarsson returns.
Previous reports suggested Arthur Okonkwo had been assured by Mikel Arteta that he was fourth-choice. However, Karl Hein was the player to travel to Rome to face Benfica, and he was also the player held back for the match against the Manchester City first team whilst Okonkwo started against the City u23s.
At the very least, it seems Arsenal are willing to rotate between the two. Okonkwo travelled to a first-team game or two earlier in February, and perhaps he will again in the coming weeks. But for now, Hein is the youth goalkeeper getting chances.
For the record, both are talented youngsters with big potential. Neither are without their faults, but they deserve to be around the senior side as they have been lately.