Saturday, June 15, 2024

Arsenal’s young goalkeepers set to benefit from Martinez loan

Emiliano Martinez joined Reading on loan this week in a move that will hopefully provide the Arsenal goalkeeper with some much-needed regular playing time.

The repercussions of Martinez’s temporary departure, meanwhile, could be hugely beneficial for some of Arsenal’s young goalkeepers, especially Deyan Iliev.

Iliev, who turns 24 next month, has been unchallenged as Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper at U23 level this season, mainly due to the fact that, after the departure of Joao Virginia, there is a significant age gap to the club’s next crop of young shot-stoppers.

With Martinez out of the picture for now, Iliev is effectively Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper for the first-team, meaning that he is likely to train regularly with Bernd Leno and Petr Cech.

In truth, Iliev hasn’t been especially convincing for the U23s this season, as evidenced by the fact that he has conceded 32 goals in 14 games. The defence has to take some of the blame for that sorry statistic, but Iliev’s kicking leaves a lot to be desired, while, although he has made some superb stops at times, he has a tendency to make costly errors.

Nonetheless, he now has an opportunity to impress Unai Emery as he aims to potentially break into the first-team squad next season once Cech retires, although Matt Macey, who is on loan at Plymouth Argyle, will also want to be considered.

Beyond that, Arsenal have two exciting prospects between the sticks in Arthur Okonkwo and Karl Hein, who are aged 17 and 16 respectively.

Okonkwo, a graduate of the Hale End academy, signed professional terms earlier in the season and elected to stay at Arsenal despite interest from abroad. A fine shot-stopper, he does still have some improvements to make but is progressing well.

Hein, meanwhile, arrived from Estonian club Nomme United last summer and, despite a difficult start, has managed to establish himself as first-choice for the U18s ahead of the highly-rated Okonkwo.

Martinez’s loan means that, on the occasions that Iliev isn’t available, such as when he is playing for the U23s, one of Okonkwo or Hein will be selected to train with the first-team, which will surely help their progress immensely.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Honestly at 23 I’d say Ilievs time has come, but with cech off it’s a complication we could do without

Arsenala Vista Baby

From competing the Premier League, top 2 every season to top 4 challengers and after 20 years we are already outside of the top 4 now battling for Europa League with a few FA Cups, well that seems ok until Came Yesterday’s FA Cup’ s exit..Oh boy, We are still a club in decline in 21 years and still counting. UNLESS!! WE WIN THE EUROPA LEAGUE AND GET OUR ARSENAL BACK TO CHAMPS LEAGUE, WE CAN FORGET WHATEVER SHITS THAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR, NEXT YEAR! COYG!!


I didn’t realise Martínez being loaned out could be so devastating


How is this a relevant comment? Any excuse to spread some negativity from some fans.

Faisal Narrage

The big lose was Virginia, he was our most talented keeper. Only Hein has decent potential. Illiev isn’t good enough.


Not as big a loss at letting Szczesny go to Juventus


Macey has lost his place as Plymouth’s number one. My guess is that we will sign a new goalkeeper in the summer, an experienced but underwhelming 32 or 33 year old on a free transfer with wages much less than Cech to be our new number two.




We’ve already got a taller version of error prone Ospina


Emiliano Viviano anyone?


I’m not in the humour for general Arsenal chatty chat. Witnessing a celebrating Man U team and manager waltzing on our turf at the final whistle last night, was just too much for me. I’m angry, I’m hurting and I think our players are too. Luck conspired against us last nite. Lingard shudda received a second yellow for antagonistic behaviour….ref bottled it. As well, the sight of Ferguson’s prickface assistant Phelin, ecstatic …….what a terrible evening. Manager shudda gone with Mavropanos and Sokratis from the start……I absolutely knew that Kos was gonna get injured. I’m sick, I’m angry and I… Read more »


Both Kos and Soks injury’s were an issue but neither could be anticipated

Teryima Adi

Take it easy, Bro. Don’t get high blood pressure over a game.


Our keepers distribution has always been not that impressive. It was a problem with szczesny, fabianski and now iliev(taking Jeorge’s word for it, haven’t seen him play). I don’t know how we fans look at things and can point out mistakes when it really should be looked at by the coaching staff and others at the club. Both keepers ridiculing our previous goalkeeper coach does tell us not everything is setup to perfection behind the scenes, some just drag on.


And then this forum tells me “comment awaiting moderation”……..God, ive had it!


It happens sometimes


As slower as Cech may be, I’m struggling to see any positives with regard his retirement for us. Unless we are in for a high calibre player in market, any of our youth players are too young, those like Iliev and Martinez may not be good enough to challenge Leno. Proof is in the pudding which is lkely why Martinez is on loan for one last audition. And bearing in mind IF we fail to sign anyone this window which is likely, we will give ourselves more work to do in the summer adding in a number of positions. Regardless… Read more »

DB’s first touch

I don’t often agree with you but in this case I agree that it would make sense for Cech to stay another year. Unfortunately he publicly announced his retirement, likely because there was no contract offer on the table from arsenal, and he’s not going to change his mind now even if the club would do a 180 for some reason.


To be stuck with Leno as our no 1 keeper feels me so much trepidation


Let’s face it, we don’t bring keepers through from youth teams and never have. Szeczny came closest to it but fans/managers/player didn’t have the patience. Jack Kelsey was the last almost homegrown keeper really?

Peter Story Teller

Now Jack Kelsey was a goal keeper! Back in his day it was perfectly legitimate for a centre forward to bundle the ball, keeper, and one or two centre backs into the net to score!!!


Why is that when it was during the Wenger rein, everyone would say his time is over but when it comes to emery, no one discusses about his time? Is emery suited for Arsenal? Does he need more time? I’m not saying that we should sack him, but i don’t see any difference in standard comparing to Arsene Wenger. It’s still the same.

With regards to keepers, if szczesny was so poor, why is he in Juventus? Is it arsenal’s coaching staff problem? Or we are lacking in making full use of our players talents?

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