Arsenal have agreed to take Reading youth goalkeeper James Hillson on loan to replace the injured Karl Hein, according to reports.
Football.London journalist Jonathan Low reported on Thursday morning that James Hillson has moved to Arsenal on loan. Hillson is 18 years old, and he’s likely only to play a part for the academy this season.
Young #readingfc goalkeeper Liam Driscoll has joined Salisbury City on loan, replacing fellow Royals shotstopper James Hillson, who has moved to Arsenal on loan
— Jonathan Low (@jonathanl50) February 7, 2019
For most of the campaign so far, Arsenal have used either Arthur Okonkwo or Karl Hein in goal for the u18s, with the other sitting on the bench. However, Hein recently picked up an injury, and fellow youth goalkeeper Daniel Barden left for Norwich City.
Emi Martinez’s loan move to Reading also means Deyan Iliev stepping up more in first-team training, and potentially sitting on the bench if either Bernd Leno or Petr Cech gets injured. That would mean Okonkwo moving up to the u23s and schoolboy Hubert Graczyk becoming the most senior option for the u18s.
To counter the club’s fast-depleting stock of goalkeepers, Arsenal have taken Hillson on loan from Reading.
It’s no surprise the Championship club were the team The Gunners looked to for help, considering the two clubs just did business together over Martinez’s loan. Arsenal goalkeeping coach Sal Bibbo also used to work for Reading, so there’s another connection.
It seems unlikely at this stage that Hillson will stick around beyond the end of the season, but if he impresses the Arsenal coaching staff, you never know.