Saturday, May 25, 2024

Okonkwo in demand after Wrexham heroics

According to The Athletic, there’s likely to be ‘a scramble’ to sign Arthur Okonkwo should the goalkeeper, as expected, become a free agent in the summer.

After impressing on loan at Crewe Alexandra and Sturm Graz, it was thought Arsenal might cash in on the 22-year-old last summer given he was a long way down the pecking order and only had a year left on his contract.

In the end, Edu sanctioned a third loan move for the academy graduate and Okonkwo jumped at the chance to return to League 2 when Wrexham came knocking.

It’s a decision that has paid off for the youngster. After forcing his way into the side, Okonkwo has started 34 of Wrexham’s 44 league games, helping them to promotion and earning a place in the division’s team of the season.

Unsurprisingly, after keeping 15 clean sheets this season, his impact between the sticks has not gone unnoticed.

While Wrexham are desperate to keep Okonkwo, they know (despite their Hollywood backing) they can’t match the signing on fees and wages likely to be on offer from Championship sides; The Sun reckons a number of second-tier sides are keeping tabs on his situation.

While Arsenal have done well wrestling control of the contract situations of first team players, you suspect they’ll be kicking themselves if Okonkwo does depart for free.

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Tomo

Cash in on ramsdale and let onkonkwo be the number 2 next year after offering him a new contract?

Bobbyp

Think there is probably a big jump between League 2 and the Prem.

Man Manny

Are we even certain of Raya as the number one going forward? I can’t remember a game he bailed the team out.

Rob

Porto, but that’s the only one. He’s been a liability more often.

Frosty

Yes.

Lord Bendnter

Lol no

Spanish Gooner

I don’t think this is a crazy idea at all. James Trafford went from a loan at Bolton (league one) where he only started 22 games to signing for Burnley for £15m as their starting goalkeeper in the premier league.

If the choice is between letting Okonkwo go for free and wasting a year of Ramsdale’s career vs keeping him and accepting he might make a couple of mistakes in the early rounds of the cups, I’d happily take the latter.

Johnno

Is that the James Trafford that’s been massively found out and dropped for the fella that got them promotion (who is also a bit pants )?

Djgooner

I assume we would get a reasonable tribunal fee for him?

charvakan

Has any team ever sold more excellent keepers so young? Sczeszny, Fabianski, Leno, Martinez are all starting for top flight clubs, with Ramsdale to follow.

Death by 300,000 Passes

I know goalkeeper’s age is in the eye of the beholder, but… “so” young were they not.
Szczęsny left to Roma when he was 25, Fabianski was 29, Leno – 30 and Martinez – 27.

Ebo

What’s interesting about all of them is they’re all very good but just short of world class. Szczeszny is probably closest to that but he only reached that level a few years after leaving us… and while Juventus might seem like a top club given their dominance in Italy they haven’t been anyone’s bet to win the Champions League since he’s been there. In a way we’re almost a bit unlucky that we seem to develop or buy a ton of keepers who are good enough for West Ham or Roma but never quite that “top 5 keeper on the… Read more »

Johnno

The club has been a graveyard for keepers for years. Wengers patronage or Gerry Payton meant standards dropped massively. We’ve yet to recover it seems. The way the keepers left and then improved was so telling. That said – very hard position to give serious time and minutes to a young player.

Parteylikeits2001

Yeah this one really didn’t make sense to me. I know there is a big difference of league 2 to back up first team keeper but he’s done it on loan at Sturm G as well. Edu and Arteta know better than us but it looked obvious this guy was going to be worth something

Kris

I’d be surprised if there wasn’t something contractual in there. Usually you’d only send a guy on loan on the last year of their deal if the player was on better wages than you’d expect them to get on a bosman (e.g. we’d have probably loaned Cedric if someone had of offered us half his wages this year). He did well at Sturm Graz and therefore loaning him for a year to cover his presumably minimal wages doesn’t make any commercial sense, we’d have likely just let him go then on a free.

MrBure

Losing talented players for free or well-below market value seems to be how we run our sales department these days, and it has got to stop. We once had a great offer for Ainsley Maitland-Niles and turned it down, only to lose him for free two seasons later. We sold Bernd Leno for £3 and an old piece of gum Fulham found under their couch, and he’s only gone and shown that he’s still one of the better goalies in the Prem. I believe he even had a vastly superior save rate than Ramsdale last season. I get that we… Read more »

GoonerRon

We’ve also earned an additional £4m in add ons due to Fulham remaining in the PL for this season and last.

Chinus

Sometime you allow young players to leave and better themselves even though you make less money. Remember they are people.

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