SUNDERLAND have signed Argentinan goalkeeper Oscar Ustaria and are now in a race against time to have him available for the Capital One Cup semi-final against Manchester United
The 27-year-old joins from Spanish side Almeria on loan until the end of the season and Gus Poyet is desperate to have him on the bench as back up to Vito Mannone at Old Trafford.
But that will depend on whether the paper-work is processed in time for the evening kick-off.
Ustaria is yet to arrive in England and is expected to fly into Manchester on the day of the game, with the first chance he is likely to have of meeting his new team-mates being in the hours in the run-up to the match.
Poyet told the Echo: “We will have to wait and see whether things are done in time but we are hopeful.
“He is a good keeper, an experienced keeper, and if it is at all possible for him to be involved against Man United, then that’s an opportunity we want to take.
“It will be helpful, especially if we have a game where it goes to extra time and penalties and it is possible that for one reason or another he ends up being involved in that.
“You can never predict cup games and it could be one of those situations where he makes his debut, is forced to come on and becomes a hero but certainly it would be nice to have the option to include him.”
The Black Cats were linked with a string of goalkeepers after head coach Gus Poyet admitted the club was in the market for an experienced keeper following Keiren Westwood’s shoulder operation.
There has been talk of Argentine keeper Mariano Andujar as well as Millwall’s David Forde.
But Ustaria, who moved to La Liga from Boca Juniors last summer, became the clear target.
He is Sunderland’s third signing of the January transfer window, joining Estudiantes’ Santiago Vergini and Fiorentina’s Marcos Alonso.
And Poyet is hopeful of more: “Beyond Ustaria, we are still working on a few new signings.
“There are a few too many rumours - some players I know, some I don’t - but we are just getting on with it.
“There’s a little bit more work for me with Roberto De Fanti leaving but nothing I can’t handle.”