Arsenal youth goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri has joined Chelmsford City on a short-term loan deal until January, the club have announced.

Ovie Ejeheri signing for Chelmsford City on loan (Photo via Chelmsford City FC)
Ovie Ejeheri signing for Chelmsford City on loan (Photo via Chelmsford City FC)

Arsenal confirmed on Wednesday that 19-year-old goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri has gone out on loan to Chelmsford City until January.

The move follows Arsenal’s academy playing a pre-season friendly against Chelmsford last summer, and manager Robbie Simpson confirmed the move was part of an attempt to build a relationship with the Gunners.

“We’ve had a few discussions with Arsenal on how we can build a relationship with them,” Simpson explained.

“We had a chat about us loaning some of their younger players as they like what we’re doing at the club, so we told them what positions we were after and they wanted to get Ovie out on loan so they sent us a few clips of him.

“He’s a big, strapping lad at 6’5” so he can dominate his box but as well as that because of his schooling at Arsenal he’s very good with his feet so he can play out from the back as well. He’s got great power and agility to make saves.

“He’s a really exciting signing for us, so we can’t wait to welcome him into the building and start hopefully what will be a really good relationship with Arsenal.”

Ovie Ejeheri warming up with the Arsenal u23s (Photo by Dan Critchlow)
Ovie Ejeheri warming up with the Arsenal u23s (Photo by Dan Critchlow)

Ejeheri made 7 Premier League 2 appearances for the Arsenal u23s last season, as well as playing four of Arsenal’s six EFL Trophy fixtures in their run to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Arsenal certainly needed to start loaning and selling goalkeepers, because their stockpile was becoming a bit ridiculous.

With the addition of Matt Turner, Arsenal also had Bernd Leno, Aaron Ramsdale, Arthur Okonkwo, Runar Alex Runarsson, Hubert Graczyk, Tom Smith, James Hillson, Karl Hein, and Ejeheri. That was 10 goalkeepers between the first-team and u21 team.

On top of Ejeheri, at least a few more need to head out. Three first-team goalkeepers and three u21 goalkeepers is probably enough, and one of the u21 goalkeepers could even act as the third first-team goalkeeper.

For example, if Arsenal sold Leno and Runarsson, and loaned Okonkwo and Hillson, they’d still have Ramsdale as first-choice, Turner as backup, Hein as third-choice for the senior side (and first-choice for the u21s), with Graczyk and Smith as u21 backups.

That would leave both teams with plenty of capable options.

In short, Ejeheri going out to get regular game time in Chelmsford seems like a good strategy, and he’s hopefully the first of many.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.