On the Arsenal roundabout of transfer news, the positive updates on Arthur Okonkwo are being matched by reports Karl Hein might not extend.
Football.London report that whilst Arsenal are expecting Arthur Okonkwo to sign a new long-term contract with the club, talks with Karl Hein have stalled. As things stand, the Estonian goalkeeper is likely to leave on a free transfer next summer.
Both Okonkwo and Hein are highly rated at Arsenal, and it’s honestly difficult to pick between them. That was clear throughout the Europa League this season, as Mikel Arteta rotated between the two for his matchday squads.
Similarly, they both got roughly equivalent minutes for the youth teams, with Okonkwo making eight appearances and Hein making 10.
Realistically, there should still be room for both of them at the club right now. They’re getting to the age when it’s probably time to go out on loan, so they’re not going to be stepping on each other’s toes as much as they might have been this year.
But it’s not unusual for young players to get antsy when they’re not getting opportunities right away. If Hein sees Okonkwo extending his deal, he may well feel like his pathway is going to be blocked, and that he’s better off moving on.
That would be a real shame, as Hein is clearly a talented young goalkeeper. The 19-year-old is already a regular senior international for Estonia, making eight international appearances this season and winning the Baltic Cup.
If Arsenal can find a way to convince both youngsters to commit their long-term future, that would certainly be a good thing further down the road.