Arsenal have won the race to sign 15-year-old goalkeeper Joao Virginia, according to reports. Metro cites speculation in Portugal when claiming the Benfica stopper has agreed terms at the Emirates Stadium, despite having a trial with Manchester United earlier in 2015.
The report goes on to claim Virginia has penned a four-year deal with the Gunners, although his age means he will need to sign scholarship terms before the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
Virginia, a Portuguese U16 international, is a product of the SLB academy and the eighth youth signing in north London this summer. His apparent arrival comes after Donyell Malen and Ismael Bennacer – two highly-rated teenagers – joined the club in the last fortnight.
It is the impact of Jeff Reine-Adelaide that has really got Arsenal fans talking, though, after the Frenchman impressed during the Emirates Cup. The 17-year-old has set the mark for other arrivals to follow, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger showing he will give youngsters a chance if they impress.
It is not such a clear-cut path to the first team for Virginia, though, with plenty of competition at U18 and reserve-team level before reaching the likes of Petr Cech in the first team. But his signing is something of a coup for the Gunners, given he had already spent time training with the Red Devils.
The Daily Express claims the teenager was on the cusp of joining manager Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford but a dramatic U-turn has seen the player join one of United's great Premier League rivals. And, with academy manager Andries Jonker's firmly making his mark in recent months, there is nothing to say Arsenal won't be adding more young talent in August.