Ustari in line for Sunderland bench at Old Trafford

Oscar Ustari.
Oscar Ustari.
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ARGENTINIAN goalkeeper Oscar Ustari is hoping he will be on the bench against Manchester United tonight after ending his contract with La Liga side Almeria and joining the Black Cats for the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old has been brought in as experienced cover for first-choice stopper Vito Mannone, now that shoulder surgery has sidelined Keiren Westwood for the next few months.

And although he can expect to be a certain starter in the FA Cup fourth round tie against Kidderminster Rovers this Saturday, there’s no doubt Ustari would like Manchester United on his CV as his first taste of English football.

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.”

Ustari’s appearance, or non-appearance at Old Trafford this evening, hinges on whether the necessary paperwork can be completed in time to give him clearance.

The goalkeeper, who still dreams of making Argentina’s World Cup squad this summer, was due to fly into Manchester today and the chances are that the first he will see of his new team-mates will be either at the team hotel or the ground itself.

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 this window.

There had been talk of Argentine keeper Mariano Andujar as well as Millwall’s David Forde.

But Ustari (left), 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 at the Stadium of Light.

Poyet is hopeful of more arrivals too before the window closes.

“Beyond Ustari, we are still working on a few new signings,” he confirmed.

“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 our director of football Roberto De Fanti leaving, but nothing I can’t handle.”