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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 24 February, 2020

One in, one out as Man United refresh goalkeeping options

Sam Johnstone has joined Aston Villa on loan with Joel Pereira returning to Old Trafford.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

MANCHESTER UNITED HAVE refreshed their goalkeeping options, with Sam Johnstone joining Aston Villa on loan as Joel Pereira is recalled from a similar spell at Belenenses.

Johnstone, who signed a new contract with United in October, is now expected to compete with first-choice keeper Mark Bunn as Steve Bruce bolsters his squad in the Championship.

“I’m really pleased to have joined Aston Villa – it’s a massive club,” Johnstone told Aston Villa’s official website.

“It’s an opportunity I jumped at, it’s one you simply can’t turn down. I’m delighted to be here and I can’t wait to work with Steve Bruce. I’ve heard very good things about the manager.”

Johnstone’s move has allowed Pereira to return to Old Trafford after impressing in Portugal, keeping four clean sheets in 10 appearances.

Pereira said: “I’d like to thank everyone at Belenenses who helped me to develop my game and become a better player.

“From the president to the coaches, all my teammates, I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me. It was a great experience to be able to play for such a traditional club from the Portuguese league and be capable of helping the team to get good results.

“As I’m a Manchester United player, I need to do what my club asks and I’m anxious to return to Manchester and keep working hard with my team-mates.”

Pereira head coach Quim Machado added: “It is not easy to lose the best players in a team like ours. We do not have the financial power of Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto. It’s a shame for us. Joel took advantage of his opportunities. He has enormous potential.”

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