Reading finally made their first signing of the summer, with Joao Virginia joining on loan from Everton for the 2019/20 season.
The Portuguese 19-year0old comes as a very highly-rated goalkeeper, who has played in both Arsenal and Everton youth sides before making the move to the Madejski Stadium.
Speaking for the first time as a Reading player, Virginia commented: “The manager and I spoke before, he trusts in me and he convinced me to come here. I can’t wait to get started.”
“I don’t think my age counts because, if you see me play, you won’t recognise my age. When you see the quality and the work I put into my game, that’s all that matters.”
Jose Gomes will be looking to more firepower to his squad over the next week, with his outfield squad needing major surgery if Reading are to be competitive in the upcoming Championship season.
Gomes hopes Virginia will be the first of many names to come through the Madejski Stadium doors this summer.
Here’s two pros and two cons to Reading sealing the deal for the Everton goalkeeper….
Pro: It’s financially beneficial for the Royals
Reading need to be very wary of Financial Fair Play this summer and have already been affected by these rules, with the EFL imposing a soft transfer embargo on the club after horrid financial results in Ron Gourlay’s tenure.
Considering this is a loan deal for a 19-year-old who’s yet to play a first team game at Everton, Virginia’s wages aren’t likely to be very steep. Additionally, Reading may only be paying a small percentage of his wages, which is even more convenient for the club.
This could help the Royals have more financial flexibility when going in for additional players in this window, something they would not have had if they would’ve had to pay a transfer fee or paid a huge sum of wages.
Pros: This is a Jose Gomes signing
As mentioned in the opening of this article, Virginia stated that it was Gomes who convinced him to sign for the Championship side.
In the modern world of football, it’s now often the Director of Football and those above the manager who make the signings, as opposed to the manager. That’s why a lot of teams name now their manager as ‘head coach’.
However, it’s clear that Gomes has seen Virginia play and knows that he will suit the style of play that the manager wants to continue to implement. Jose Gomes’ smart acquisition of Emiliano Martinez shows that he has an eye for a good goalkeeper, let’s hope that continues with Virginia.
Con: Where’s the first team football?
Even though Virginia has appeared in Arsenal and Everton’s youth team, the 19-year-old is yet to play any first team football in England, which is one of the biggest drawbacks of this signing.
This is a huge gamble by Gomes, who had the reliable Martinez in goal for the second half of last season to rely on. Martinez was one of the main reasons that Reading managed to stay in the second tier last season, and is now competing with Bernd Leno for the number one jersey at Arsenal.
If Virginia does hit a bad run of form, Reading will only have Sam Walker and youngster Jokull Andresson to call upon.
Con: The need for experienced pros is higher than ever
At just 19, the goalkeeper isn’t exactly one of the experienced players that Reading desperately need.
Reading have promoted a lot of academy players in this pre-season to fill the gaps that have been left by players who have either been released, transfer-listed or have gone back on loan to their parent club.
Unless the club sign a central defender for the 2019/20 season, new captain Liam Moore faces playing with a very one central defender in Tom McIntyre and teenager Joao Virginia. That would be a very big risk.