Andreas Schicker, Managing Director Sport of Sturm Graz, has announced that he will hold talks with Arsenal over extending the loan of goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo during the international break next month.
Sturm Graz are keen on retaining Okonkwo’s services for another loan spell beyond June 2023, with the goalkeeper starting every match since his arrival.
Speaking to Sky Sport Austria, Schicker said, “I’m in contact with Arsenal’s Loan Manager almost weekly, because they follow his development closely.
“During the international break, they will come or I will fly to London and then we will have further talks.”
Okonkwo has a contract with Arsenal until June 2024 and has yet to make his competitive debut for the club but, if Arsenal were to agree to a loan extension, they will no doubt expect the 21-year-old to sign a new deal with the club first.
That shouldn’t be a problem for the player. Speaking at the start of February, Okonkwo revealed that his ‘biggest goal’ was to make it at Arsenal.
“I just want to give my best every day,” Okonkwo said. “Being a footballer you want to play in front of the crowds every week.
“I don’t want to sit on a bench. I always want to be playing, to improve myself and one day become Arsenal’s No.1.
“This is my biggest goal. This is still my dream.
“[Balogun is] in a similar position to me,” Okonkwo added.
“He wasn’t playing as consistently as he would like and that’s why he went out. That’s why a lot of players go on loan nowadays to play.
“They want to get consistent football and to prove they can play football. It’s so important.
“And that’s my focus now. I’m just thinking about the present. I’m at Sturm Graz and I just want to give my best every day.”
Arsenal loanee eliminates RB Salzburg with debut penalty save
Okonkwo has been with Arsenal for over 10 years, going on his first loan at the start of this season when he joined Crewe Alexandra, keeping 10 cleansheets in 26 games.
He was then recalled by Arsenal and re-loaned to Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga to help him make a step up.
Domestic football takes a break from 19 March, after Arsenal’s home game against Crystal Palace. It returns from the international break on April Fool’s Day with Arsenal’s trip to Elland Road.