Arsenal’s Joao Virginia is targeting the Arsenal number one shirt and the goalkeeper, who is apparently referred to as a ‘colossus’ around the club, could well be in line to get it.
Arsenal need a new goalkeeper desperately and it is likely they will have to buy rather than depend on anyone at the club in the near future.
Wojciech Szcznesy is gone, Emiliano Martinez has shown little to suggest he has what it takes to be a long term number one, ditto Matt Macey.
Petr Cech is old and on a rapid decline and David Ospina still has bricks for hands.
Then there’s 18-year-old Joao Virginia.
“I am increasingly close to the first team of Arsenal and, for the year, I hope to continue to be there even more often,” he told O Jogo [via Google translate].
“Currently, [I am] already training with them several days a week and I want to continue to make progress. I wish to be third and then the second keeper until I can get to the number 1 sweater as soon as possible.
“Play in the first team for Arsenal and be the number 1, which is still vacant, it is at present my great goal, my biggest dream.
“I learn a lot from Cech since he has a lot of experience. He devotes part of the time talking to me, explaining to me some details. And when we crossed in the academy, we always talk about a lot. I have learned a lot from him both inside and outside of the practice.
“Eye to the form of Cech and Ospina play, and adapt the style of them to what that has more to do with my game. Personally, I love the positioning of Cech in goal, he reads very well the opponents and know what’s going to happen.
“Of course I see an opportunity, because Cech is at the end of his career and Ospina already is not very new. I know that I have talent and I see myself reaching the level of them in the future or even more high,
“The ‘boss’ [Wenger] is very respected at Arsenal and is a great coach. When I go there to train with the first team he motivates me a lot and even when I make a great defence, he is aware of it and says: ‘Good, Joao!’,[he] always encourages me. Wenger is a legend of the club that I admire very much because he helped me to evolve.”
Virginia arrived at Arsenal in 2015, signing from Benfica’s youth academy.
He has five cleansheets in 15 u18 Premier League games this season and seems to be the best young keeper at the club, recently starting for the u23s against Liverpool in Premier League 2.