Celtic to battle RB Leipzig for Arsenal goalkeeper

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Celtic and RB Leipzig are set to battle it out for the signature of promising Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo, according to reports.

The England Under-17 international, who has already trained with the Gunners’ first team, is highly rated at the Emirates.

Arthur Okonkwo (back centre) pictured ahead of an England Under-15s match with Turkey at St George's Park in December 2015. Picture: Getty Images

Arthur Okonkwo (back centre) pictured ahead of an England Under-15s match with Turkey at St George's Park in December 2015. Picture: Getty Images

The Nigerian-born goalie was first named on the bench for Arsenal Under-18s when still attached to the Under-15s, and has been tipped for greatness by those in the England set-up.

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Still only 16, the 6ft 5in Okonkwo is keen to stay at Arsenal but the club’s approach to contracts may mean the ‘keeper is forced out this summer.

The Gunners have offered Okonkwo a scholarship with a professional contract when he turns 17 in September, but the player and the club are still to reach an agreement.

And the lack of an agreed deal has put Celtic and Bundesliga cracks RB Leipzig on high alert.

Arsenal have a number of ‘keepers on their books, including first team stoppers Petr Cech and David Ospina, while Emiliano Martinez is currently on loan at Getafe until the end of the season.

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There are five goalies listed in the club’s UEFA Reserve squad - Matt Macey, who has had loan spells at Accrington and Luton; Ryan Huddart, who spent time on loan at Eastleigh; Macedonian Dejan Iliev, Hugo Keto of Finland and Faro-born Portuguese ‘keeper Joao Virginia, who recently signed professional terms.

Scots ‘keeper Alex Crean is listed as part of the club’s Under-18 squad along with Dnaiel Barden and Okonkwo.

Earlier this month, Okonkwo helped Arsenal Under-19s to the final of the Dallas Cup, where they were beaten by Mexican side Tigres.

Okonkwo saved three spot-kicks as the young Gunners ran out 3-1 winners on penalties in the semi-final against Manchester United.

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