Another Super Eagles-eligible goalkeeper set to depart Arsenal after 13 years

After 13 years spent honing his skills at the famous Hale End Academy, promising Super Eagles-eligible goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri has announced his departure from Premier League giants Arsenal.

Ejeheri's time with the Gunners comes to an end on 30 June 2024, signifying the conclusion of a chapter that began when he joined the club's youth academy as a U-9 schoolboy.

He steadily progressed through Arsenal's youth ranks, culminating in the signing of his first professional contract in the summer of 2021. This marked a significant milestone for the young goalkeeper, but his journey with the club now takes an unexpected turn.

In an emotional message, Ejeheri posted on Instagram: 

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“13 years! 8-21. From a boy to a man. Forever grateful to share so many memories over the years at the Academy with everyone. Honestly a miracle to have made it this far. Now it’s time to fly”.

Super Eagles prospect Ejeheri at Hale End

Ovie Ejeheri, a key figure for Arsenal U-21s this season as their first-choice goalkeeper, will leave the club upon his contract's expiration at the end of June. He boasts an impressive record during his time with the Gunners, making 15 appearances in the Premier League 2 and featuring three times in the EFL Trophy for the youth team.

In total, Ejeheri has donned the Arsenal jersey 44 times across U-18 and U-21 levels, with a standout performance coming in the 2021 EFL Trophy win against Ipswich Town.

Ejeheri's talent extended beyond the walls of North London. He enjoyed successful loan spells last season, keeping a combined total of 20 clean sheets in league matches for National League South side Chelmsford City and Finnish club SJK Seinäjoki. While his time with Arsenal concludes, Ejeheri's experience positions him for a bright future in professional football.

Ejeheri trains with Arsenal first team in March

In a glimpse of his potential, the Nigerian goalkeeper received a call-up to train with Arsenal's first team in March 2024. This opportunity came ahead of a crucial Premier League clash against Manchester City.

Ejeheri, a Flying Eagles invitee, donned the number 48 jersey during the training session at London Colney. While he wasn't included in the final matchday squad for the City encounter, his inclusion with the first team suggests he's on the radar of manager Mikel Arteta.

It's believed Ejeheri's presence was due to Arsenal having several first-team players away on international duty, but it nonetheless represents a significant moment in the young goalkeeper's development.

Who is Ovie Ejeheri?

Arsenal U-23 goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri has emerged as a talent to watch, not only for his impressive loan spells in England and Finland, but also for his intriguing international future.

Born in London to Nigerian and Ugandan parents, Ejeheri has already caught the eye of all three nations. He's been with Arsenal since childhood, steadily progressing through the youth ranks and even receiving a call-up to England's U-20 training camp in 2020 (although the tournament was canceled).

Super Eagles-eligible goalkeeper Ovie Ejeheri

A highlight of his career was the penalty shootout win with Arsenal U-21s in the 2022 Papa John's Trophy. While his 2023 Flying Eagles call-up was hampered by club commitments, Ejeheri's talent suggests an international tug-of-war is on the horizon.

He is the second Nigerian goalkeeper set to depart Arsenal this summer, following in the footsteps of Arthur Okonkwo. 

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Toyosi Afolayan

Toyosi Afolayan is a sports journalist who breathes life into the games we love. He loves to combine insightful analysis with historical background, creating a richer understanding of sports. Afolayan's expertise ranges from captivating narratives to live broadcasts, captivating audiences across platforms like Ojbsport, AllNigeriaSoccer, TVC Entertainment, Bounce Networks, Kwara TV, ICIR, EaglesTracker, and NFF TV. His background in History and International Studies adds depth, revealing the connections between sports, politics, and national identity.