Young Arsenal goalkeeper Karl Hein has joined Reading FC on loan for the rest of the season.
The 19-year-old Estonian Gunner will now ply his trade with the Royals, who sit in 21st in the Championship with just 22 points.
Young Arsenal Goalkeeper Karl Hein Joins Reading FC on Loan
Hein to Fill Reading’s Goalkeeper Vacuum
Reading are in capable hands with ‘one of their own’ Luke Southwood, so bringing in a younger understudy does seem to be a head-scratching move. After all, Hein is yet to make a competitive debut for Arsenal. But with 12 appearances for his country, Hein does provide the experience and expertise of playing on the international stage.
Hein comes in possibly to provide a bit of depth, after Reading terminated Rafael Cabral’s contract earlier this month. The Brazilian goalkeeper had been the No.1 at Reading, making 95 appearances since 2019. He was even voted player of the season in 2019/20. But he suffered a hand injury in September, which paved the way for Southwood to rise to glory. As a result, Cabral wasn’t getting a look in and has since moved to Cruzeiro.
But do Reading need another young goalkeeper in their side? After all, they recalled two hot prospects in Jokull Andresson and James Holden from their loan spells at Morecambe and Maidenhead. There’s still a good portion of the January transfer window to go, so they may still find new loan deals. Otherwise, Reading will have at least four goalkeepers on their books – plenty of back-ups lest another Cabral injury scenario crops up.
New Opportunity for Young Arsenal Goalkeeper
So far this season, Hein has played for Arsenal’s under 21’s side in the Premier League 2, conceding eight, with just one clean sheet. He also made an EFL trophy appearance for the U21s, where he once again conceded.
Depending on what happens with the rest of Reading’s goalkeeping reserves, Hein could still gain some valuable experience. He clearly has talent, already featuring for Estonia. But the Championship will give him a new set of challenges and experiences. Reading have a good track record of developing young players, but whether Hein will get a look in with the wealth of talent they have between the sticks is yet to be seen.