Man Utd sanction goalkeeper exit as Pereira moves to Portugal on loan deal

Joel Pereira
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The 22-year-old is held in high regard by Jose Mourinho, but he needs regular game time at this stage of his career and has headed out of Old Trafford

Manchester United have allowed promising goalkeeper Joel Pereira to join Portuguese outfit Vitoria Setubal on a season-long loan.

The 22-year-old is held in high regard at Old Trafford and figured prominently during the Red Devils’ pre-season tour of the United States.

He has, however, slipped further down the senior pecking order this summer following the arrival of 35-year-old Lee Grant .

With David de Gea and Sergio Romero also ahead of him, it has been decided that another loan switch is of greater benefit to Pereira at this stage of his career than U23 outings.

A statement on United’s official website read: “Jose Mourinho is a firm believer in Pereira's talents and handed him a new contract in 2017 that runs until 2021, with the option of an additional year.

“Pereira spent last term as third choice behind David de Gea and Sergio Romero, and made one first-team appearance as a substitute in the EFL Cup victory over Burton Albion last September.

“Most recently, Joel was instrumental in the International Champions Cup penalty shootout triumph over AC Milan on tour.”

Portugal U21 international Pereira, who linked up with United in 2012, has previously spent time in his homeland with Belenenses.

That productive loan spell in 2016-17 delivered 10 first-team appearances and he will be hoping for more regular outings with Setubal – Mourinho’s home-town club.

The Red Devils boss has previously talked up Pereira’s potential, tipping him to become “the best Portuguese goalkeeper of the next generation”.

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Mourinho has, however, also conceded that he cannot aid that development at present.

He said in the wake of snapping up Grant from Stoke: “We did Lee Grant because we have a fantastic young goalkeeper [Pereira] who needs to play football.

“I really believe Joel is a Manchester United goalkeeper but he cannot be 19 years old and two years without football - he has to play.”