Everton head coach Carlo Ancelotti may have figured out a way to save the Toffees “important money” in the summer, according to Michael Ball.
On Saturday, Everton delivered a brave performance against Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals, though they were ultimately beaten 2-0 at Goodison Park.
Everton’s goalkeeping situation raised concerns prior to the game, given both Jordan Pickford and Robin Olsen were unavailable.
Joao Virginia, who had made his Premier League debut just a week earlier, was drafted in against Pep Guardiola’s side, and he did very well in the game.
The 21-year-old academy graduate had little to do in the first half but was called into action to make a fantastic fingertip save to deny Raheem Sterling just before the hour mark.
There was little Virginia could do about either goal, and after the game, his performance was lauded by many fans.
And Ball believes the Portuguese will have given Ancelotti food for thought when it comes to the summer transfer window.
“Against a top-quality side he was really, really good,” the former Everton ace wrote in the Liverpool Echo.
“It was a performance that was encouraging and it has given the club something to think about in the summer.
“Obviously they want someone to push Jordan Pickford for his place and Joao could be promoted to number two and allow the scouting department to kick-on and land players in other areas if he shows he can be at that level consistently.
“It’s only one full game we have seen him play but Carlo watches him every day at Finch Farm.
“He has a lack of experience, yes, but a decision will have to be made over him and Robin Olsen eventually.
“My feeling is Carlo wants instant success and with that, he wants experienced footballers with quality.
“So if he can save important money on buying a new back-up goalkeeper with Joao, then that would surely be the way he wants to go.
“Carlo trusted Joao against Manchester City and he showed everyone he is capable.”
Ball sums it up really well – Virginia has shown his quality against one of European football’s most dangerous sides.
At 21, he’s really young for a goalkeeper and has plenty of years ahead of him.
Virginia has surely earned himself Everton’s back-up spot at the very least, so that’ll be one less concern for Ancelotti when it comes to moving in the market.