According to reports in the Express, Arsenal are closing in on a move to sign 15-year-old Portuguese goalkeeper Joao Virgínia from Benfica.

The highly-rated youngster had been linked with a switch to Manchester United in recent months, but the Gunners have stepped up their pursuit of the teenager who has already begun training with Arséne Wenger’s side.

United on the other hand, signed Standard Leige’s 16-year-old ‘keeper Ilias Moutha Sebtaoui last month.

Joao Virginia has begun training with Arsenal [via Twitter]
Joao Virginia has begun training with Arsenal [via Twitter]
Although he will not sign a contract until his 16th birthday in October, this piece of encouraging news is intriguing considering the shift in power between the top English clubs.

Manchester United’s influence in the window has been evident for plenty of seasons now, but since Sir Alex’s departure two summers ago, things have not been the same.

Portuguese news outlet Mais previously reported that Virgínia had already flew into London to begin training with the FA Cup holders – and if a deal was to be concluded, he’d join the under-18’s squad.

If the move is completed, he’ll be one of four keeper’s in the u18 side, managed by Pat Holland. Hugo Keto, Bradley House and Ryan Huddart are currently in the squad ranks.