Manchester United reserve goalkeeper Joel Pereira has been recalled from his loan at Belenenses after making only eight appearances for the Portuguese side. His return will trigger a loan for Sam Johnstone, the man who has been United's third-choice goalkeeper this season, to Aston Villa in order to gain further competitive experience.
Pereira's loan has not gone to plan
The initial plan was for Pereira, a Portugal U-20 international, to spend the season on loan with Belenenses. However, he has made just eight appearances for the Primera Liga side, most recently appearing on December 22nd in a 1-0 defeat to Sporting Lisbon.
The stop in Belenenses was his second loan since being signed as a professional by United. The Portugal U-20 star played six times while on loan at Rochdale in 2015.
Pereira will be expected to provide cover at Old Trafford for David De Gea and Sergio Romero, the current first and second choice, respectively.
Domino effect set to see Johnstone off to Villa
With Pereira returning, United manager Jose Mourinho will allow Johnstone, who has yet to feature for United, to go on another loan. Johnstone has made 82 professional appearances over the course of previous loans to Scunthorpe, Walsall, Yeovil Town, Doncaster and Preston North End in addition to traveling with United to Europa League contests this season and making a number of matchday squads.
After being handed the manager's job at Villa, Steve Bruce marked out Johnstone as a man he would like to bring in. Pierluigi Gollini and Mark Bunn have both appeared in goal for Villa this term, but may well see their playing time cut down once Johnstone joins up at Villa Park.
According to the Daily Mail, Bruce believes that Johnstone is the man to help his side push towards the playoff places and a potential promotion bid.