Arthur Okonkwo ‘would like to stay’ at Sturm Graz after an impressive half-season on loan from Premier League giants Arsenal, according to the Austrian club’s sporting director Andreas Schicker.
Last week, Schicker confirmed that Sturm Graz would not be triggering the £2 million option-to-buy clause in Albian Ajeti’s contract after the Celtic misfit saw a frustrating loan spell ruined by injury.
The conversation surrounding Arthur Okonkwo, however, could hardly be more different.
While Ajeti toiled, Okonkwo thrived. The London-born 21-year-old went from Crewe Alexandra in the depth’s of England’s fourth tier to second-place in the Austrian Bundesliga in the space of just a few months, winning ten of the 16 games he played between the sticks at Sturm Graz during the second half of last season.
Does Arthur Okonkwo have a future at Arsenal?
Okonkwo told Goal in February that playing first-team football at Arsenal remains his ‘dream’.
But, with Aaron Ramsdale firmly established as the club’s number one for years to come, the former England U18 international will be tempted by the chance to extend his stay in Austria, either on loan or via a permanent deal with a potential buy-back clause in his contract.
“There will also be a personal meeting. He flew to London today, so we’ll see what comes of it,” Schicker tells Sky Austria.
“I have a feeling he would like to stay. I also think that, from a sporting perspective, there can be nothing better than playing for Sturm Graz next year.”
The 6ft 6ins Okonkwo is highly regarded by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
“Together with Arthur’s huge talent and hard work, we thank our colleagues at the academy for developing Arthur in recent years to get to this stage,” Arteta said after the youngster signed a five-year deal at the Emirates back in 2021.
“Arthur was working and travelling a lot with the first team last season. We have all seen his quality at first hand.
“He is a strong young goalkeeper with great potential and we’re so pleased he has signed a new deal. He has absolutely earned his place in the first-team squad.
“Arthur will now join us every single day in training, where we look forward to watching him continue to develop and improve his goalkeeping. I know all our fans will join me in congratulating Arthur on this positive step in his career.”
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