Virginia set to add to Arsenal’s youth goalkeeping conundrum

According to reports in Portugal Arsenal are set to complete a deal for young goalkeeper Joao Virginia.

If the deal goes ahead then Virginia, a 15-year-old who is a product of Benfica’s academy, will become Arsenal’s eighth young signing of a productive summer.

Virginia, who has been capped by Portugal at U16 level, will still be a schoolboy this season but is pencilled in to sign scholarship terms with Arsenal ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

The acquisition of Virginia is set to lead to much competition for places amongst the club’s young goalkeepers, with homegrown shot-stoppers George Phillips and Jordan Perrin having both been named on the bench for Arsenal’s U18 team last season.

There is already a battle going on between the sticks at U21 level, with Matt Macey, Deyan Iliev and Ryan Huddart all competing for once place in the side, whilst Finnish goalkeeper Hugo Keto signed professional terms recently after a productive first season at the club.

Virginia, though, is extremely highly regarded, and will have designs of progressing through the ranks quickly if he does sign.



  1. Either everyone is failing to grasp the importance of the position of goalkeeper, or…I guess it IS confusing with all the young keepers at the club, but still, doesn’t ANYONE have anything to say about this?? 😀

    1. You need good competition to develop players. They will all be training together. Unlike field players goal keepers do pretty much the same in training. I´m guessing there will be some loans for U21 keepers.

  2. Goalkeeper is a specialist position. For some reason, Goalkeepers don’t blossom until they reach their late 20s (with a few exception, of course). Unlike the outfield players where we see world class players before they reach their 23rd birthday. It’ll be sometime before we know Virginia is good enough for our First Team.

    Off topic a bit, I notice in the Arsenal official website that both Zelalem and Bielik are not in the First Team squad but named in the Academy list. Is there a change in the policy?

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