Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Focus turns to Hein following Virginia’s departure

The departure of Joao Virginia to Everton came as a considerable shock, with the goalkeeper having been widely seen as an excellent prospect for the future.

Virginia developed very well since joining Arsenal’s academy from Benfica three years ago and certainly possessed the potential to eventually break into the senior squad, but the 18-year-old elected to move to Goodison Park, where he feels his chances of getting into the first-team will be significantly greater.

While it is very disappointing to lose a prospect of Virginia’s quality, Arsenal now have to look at their remaining options at youth level and there could now be a major opportunity to shine for summer signing Karl Jakob Hein.

The Estonian, who was signed from Nomme United in his homeland, is just 16 years old yet he is very tall and an excellent commander of his penalty area, while he is already fluent in English.

This week Hein made his first appearance for Arsenal’s U23 side as he featured in the friendly victory against Hornchurch, and, with Matt Macey out on loan and Virginia having left permanently, the new arrival could receive a considerable amount of playing time for the second string.

Deyan Iliev, at 23 years of age, will undoubtedly be the first-choice goalkeeper for the U23s but Hein now has a real chance to establish himself as the primary back-up to the Macedonian.

There are other young goalkeepers who will be competing with Hein in that regard, with Arthur Okonkwo, Tom Smith and Daniel Barden all currently on scholarship contracts.

However, at present it is Hein who is in the driving seat and it will be intriguing to chart his development during his first campaign at the club.

The youngster will, in all likelihood, feature mostly for the U18s but there is a possibility that he could be involved in the Checkatrade Trophy and an injury to Iliev could even lead to him becoming first-choice for the U23s.

There may well be times when Emiliano Martinez, should he remain at the club, will feature for the U23s, but, in the main, it will be Iliev who is the main goalkeeping option at that level.

With Virginia no longer at the club, Hein now has an opportunity to become an important figure for the U23s.

Jeorge Bird is the author of Follow him on Twitter @jeorgebird

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Heil Hein!


Whaaaat,i thought that was a nice pun!

Dat guy

Wish we had focused on selling ospina and Martinez more and maybe virginia would have stayed *sigh*


Always look on the bright side of life..


Our keeper situation takes another twist. Ospina and Martinez haven’t ever done much wrong but should both exit this window. Leno and Cech will be great competition for each other. Then we have 3/4 youngsters (that seem to change every year) who can make up our number 3/u23/u18 choices. From the outside it looks like, in extending Ilievs contract and signing Hein, we have pushed Virginia to the point where he just wants the path of least resistance. I thought he was highly rated so it’s a shame but they must have a plan. And when you through Macey into… Read more »


He may be highly rated, but the move seems a bit like Jack-to-Bournemouth to me.


What’s the point in keeping like 3 or 4 (reserve) goalies that soon be mid-20’s and have no realistic chance of making a breakthrough at Arsenal? Look at Courtouis, de Gea, Kepa from Bilbao, even Leno at that age was keeping in top flight. I don’t get it. Especially with the market as it is we could extract a good few millions for them, including Ospina. Cech and Leno should be enough for first team because its rare to have 2 first team goalkeepers injured *knocks wood*. If it did happen then there’s Iliev who damn it is also 23.… Read more »

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