Everton goalkeeper Joao Virginia is close to joining Sporting Lisbon on an initial loan deal with an option to buy, according to Portuguese media outlet Record (via Sport Witness).
The Liverpool Echo reported last week that the Toffees had sanctioned a loan move for the 21-year-old, who has been attracting interest from the Championship and from abroad.
Virginia played three games for Everton last season, making his Premier League debut against Burnley in March when Jordan Pickford was forced off with an injury. He kept his place for the FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City and helped the Blues keep the eventual Premier League champions at bay for 84 minutes.
Everton under-23 boss David Unsworth has lavished the ‘keeper with praise, describing him as ‘unbelievable’.
Record claimed (via Sport Witness) that negotiations between Everton and defending Primeira Liga champions Sporting are now ‘very advanced’ and that an agreement should be reached this week.
The Lisbon club will then be able to decide whether they want to sign Virginia permanently at the end of his loan spell.
Virginia remains well down the pecking order at Goodison Park. He may have sensed an opportunity when Robin Olsen returned to Roma following his Merseyside loan spell, but the signing of Asmir Begovic means that the youngster’s first team prospects are very limited.
If there is an option to buy, what kind of fee should Everton propose? Virginia is only 21 years old and will still have two years left on his contract come the end of the season, so somewhere around the £2m mark would probably be reasonable.
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