Everton have strengthened their goalkeeping department by securing the services of Arsenal youngster Joao Virginia.
Arsenal have confirmed the departure of Joao Virginia, who has joined Everton for an undisclosed fee. The Portuguese youth international has signed a three-year contract with the Toffees and is keen on following the footsteps of Everton number one Jordan Pickford.
As reported by The Sun, Virginia expressed his delight upon joining the Merseyside giants from Arsenal, stating, “I am really happy to be at Everton. I hope to learn a lot from the goalkeepers here, Jordan Pickford, who had a great season and World Cup and Maarten Stekelenburg, who is very experienced, too. This is a great opportunity for me.”
Indeed, Virginia will be an exciting addition to Everton given their lack of options in the goalkeeping department beyond first-choice custodian, Jordan Pickford. Maarten Stekelenburg has already entered the final phase of his career and might not be identified as a reliable, long-term option.
All the best for the future, Joao
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 3, 2018
A product of the Benfica youth academy, Virginia was an ever-present figure for Arsenal in the age-group level since joining the club back in 2015. He was also included in Portugal’s Under-19 team that won the European Championships last month as well as the European Under-17 Championship winning team back in 2016.
Thus, Arsenal fans are unlikely to be happy with the departure of one of their most talented youngsters. Furthermore, the likes of Petr Cech and David Ospina has been heavily linked with moves away from the Emirates following the arrival of Bernd Leno earlier this summer.
As a result, the departure of someone like Joao Virginia certainly won’t go down well with some of Arsenal’s passionate supporters, who are understandably worried about their club’s vulnerability in the goalkeeping department.
In the meantime, however, Virginia has been installed in Everton’s reserve side, where he’ll fight for a regular place in the starting eleven against Mateusz Hewelt, who is also the third choice keeper of the senior side.
Putting up consistent performances for the under-23 side should eventually help him pip Hewelt as Everton’s preferred third-choice in between the sticks. For now, it remains to be seen if Virginia can cope with the pressure of having arrived from Arsenal as a great goalkeeping prodigy with loads of potential.