PLYMOUTH Argyle have signed England Under-19s left-back Lino Sousa on loan.
On transfer deadline day, Sousa left Arsenal to sign on a permanent basis for Premier League rivals Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee, but he immediately headed down to the South West to join Argyle on a loan until the end of the current season.
Sousa, who turned 19 earlier this month, is Portuguese by birth, having been born in Lisbon, but his family moved to England when he was eight. He was picked up by West Bromwich Albion, where he progressed in the Academy, before signing for Arsenal in February 2022.
In his time with the Gunners, Sousa has played five times in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, scoring once. He was an unused substitute on several occasions for Arsenal’s first team.
Heo has played eight times for England Under-19s, often linking up with fellow Argyle loan player Ashley Phillips, and has represented his adoptive country at each age group from under-15s upwards.
“Lino is somebody that I've known for a while,” said Argyle head coach Ian Foster. “I've always been excited by his performances at Arsenal and with the England development teams.
“He's a really exciting player with huge potential and I think you can see why the likes of Arsenal and Aston Villa have taken him.
“He'll come in, in competition on the left-hand side of the pitch. He's got a lovely left foot; he's athletic; he can handle the ball in tight areas; he can defend in one-on-one situations and he's good in the final phase as well.”
Director of football Neil Dewsnip added: “Lino is a young player with a tremendous grounding in football, and is a hugely exciting prospect for the future.
“He has attracted the eye of Aston Villa, who have a good record of bringing in young, talented footballers, and our excellent relationship with them means we were in a good position to be ones with whom he can get some loan experience.
“He joins several other young, hungry players making their way in the world of football. We feel this is a perfect for place for Lino and our other young players to further their footballing education, and to benefit Plymouth Argyle.”
The only other bit of business that the Pilgrims did on transfer deadline day was seeing 21-year-old left-back Saxon Earley join Wycombe Wanderers on loan until the end of the season - the eighth player to move away from Home Park during January.
He needs minutes under his belt after recently coming back from ankle ligament damage.