Karl Hein joined the Arsenal first-team photo for the 2021/22 campaign, after recently extending his contract with the club.

Arsenal 2021/22 first-team squad photo (Photo via Arsenal on Twitter)
Arsenal 2021/22 first-team squad photo (Photo via Arsenal on Twitter)

As you can see above, Arsenal recently took their first-team squad photo for the 2021/22 season.

There weren’t many players from the youth teams included, with all but one of those in the picture having been assigned a first-team number for the current campaign.

The only exception was Karl Hein. Hein still has the u23 number 49, and he’s started a couple of games for the academy side in the last few weeks. Yet he was in the photo alongside Aaron Ramsdale, Bernd Leno, and Arthur Okonkwo.

Hein recently extended his contract with Arsenal, which was a welcome surprise after rumours that talks were stalling. His previous deal was set to expire in 2022, but he’s now tied down for the long term.

We’ve addressed previously that this extension raises questions about what Arsenal are doing with all of their youth goalkeepers. There are effectively five in contention for two u23 spots.

But the above photo is the latest hint that Hein will get a chance to feature in the first-team squad this season. He’ll still have to fight off competition from Arthur Okonkwo, who did get a senior number this summer.

With his strong performances for the Arsenal u23s and the Estonia national team, Hein is around Mikel Arteta’s squad on merit. He might have to wait until next year for a first-team number, but it’s not impossible a debut could come sooner.