This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Get Reading, Reading are closing in on the loan signing of Everton goalkeeper Joao Virginia, which would make him Jose Gomes’ first signing of the summer.
Well, the Royals are close to capturing the 19-year-old, who came through the ranks at Benfica in an academy that has been home to goalkeeping giants such as Ederson, Jan Oblak and Julio Cesar.
The 6 foot 3 teen made 13 appearances for the Toffees’ Under-23 side in 2018/19, keeping an impressive nine clean sheets in those games.
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Virginia has also been capped at Under-16, Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 level for Portugal, moving to Goodison Park last summer after departing Arsenal following two years with the Gunners.
He is yet to make an appearance for the first-team, but there is no denying that Virginia is an exciting young glovesman based on the aforementioned points.
The Merseysiders already had England No.1 Jordan Pickford and experienced Dutch stopper Maarten Stekelenburg in their ranks, and that was before they made the decision to snap up Huddersfield keeper Jonas Lossl on a free transfer after his contract with the Terriers expired.
It was already hard enough for Virginia, but now that there are three experienced players blocking Virginia’s path into the first team, this is a sensible decision by Marcel Brands to sanction the departure of the teenager for what would be his first ever loan move away in the senior game.
Marco Silva has already said that Virginia is ‘on another level’, whilst Under-23 boss David Unsworth was especially glowing in his praise for the keeper after his debut against Leicester last season, saying: “What he’s done tonight is set a standard I’ve not seen at this level from a goalkeeper.”
Virginia also received a standing ovation from his teammates after that game – there is no denying that the Toffees have a keeper in their ranks with bags of potential yet to be fulfilled.
In that respect, the decision to get him some consistent game time out on loan as soon as possible is a sensible one for Brands and for the player himself.