Manchester United academy graduate Joel Pereira has completed a loan move to Scotland, joining top-flight club Hearts for the 2019-20 season.
Manchester United have made an official statement to confirm that Joel Pereira has left the club, albeit temporarily. The Portuguese goalkeeper, a product of the Premier League heavyweights’ academy, has joined Scottish Premiership side Hearts on a loan deal for the rest of the 2019-20 season.
Joel Castro Pereira has been a part of Manchester United since 2012, and signed his first professional deal with the club in 2015. Till date, however, Pereira has only managed three first-team appearances for Manchester United, with David de Gea firmly established as the first-choice goalkeeper.
— Heart of Midlothian (@JamTarts) August 13, 2019
With Sergio Romero next in line after the Spaniard and Lee Grant also joining United last summer, Pereira has had no definitive path towards first-team football. As a result, he has been in a similar predicament as that of another Manchester United academy graduate, who spent last season on loan at Sheffield United before rejoining the newly promoted Premier League club this summer.
As for Pereira, he has now temporarily left Manchester United for a fifth time, this time for a stint in Scotland where he has joined Scottish Premiership side Hearts. The Jambos share a fine relationship with United, having most recently signed Demetri Mitchell on loan on two separate occasions.
A loan move makes sense for Pereira, with de Gea looking increasingly likely to stay put at Manchester United and sign a bumper new deal with the club. At Tynecastle Park, the 23-year-old will have Zdenek Zlamal and Colin Doyle for competition, and with the aforementioned duo both in their thirties, the Portuguese will fancy his chances, and he admittedly relishes the challenge.
Speaking to Hearts TV, Joel said, “I am very happy to be here. The team welcomed me very well, and the staff. I’m pleased to be here and I’m looking forward to getting started. I spoke with the staff at Manchester United and the idea was for me to get out there on loan and get as many minutes as I can.”
“Hopefully it will be good here and I will fight to get as many minutes as I can here. It’s obviously always good to have competition as long as there is respect between all of us while we are teammates and we will all be fighting for the same spot. Then the decision is with the manager.”
Pereira will now look to usurp both Zlamal and Doyle, hoping that it is at Hearts where he finally flourishes while away from Manchester United. A strong season would only aid his chances of progress and it remains to be seen how he fairs in Scotland.