• Pereira excelled on loan during the first half of the season at Belenenses.
  • He will serve as United's third-choice goalkeeper with Johnstone sent to Villa Park.

Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has completed his loan move to Aston Villa until the end of the season with Joel Pereira making his return to the club.

Pereira, 19, has enjoyed an impressive loan spell at Portuguese side Belenenses during the first half of the 2015-16 season. Jose Mourinho announced in December he would recall the shotstopper and bring him back to Old Trafford to act as United's third-choice goalkeeper, behind David de Gea and Sergio Romero.

Pereira will effectively swap roles with Johnstone, who will now have his turn to chance to nail down a first-team role at Villa Park under former United defender Steve Bruce.

"I'm really excited to be here. Aston Villa were interested and it's an opportunity I jumped at. It's one you simply can't turn down," Johnstone told Villa's official website.

"I'm really delighted to be here and I'm happy that it's all sorted. I can't wait to work with Steve Bruce too. I've heard very good things about the manager. You can see his track record. He's good for the club and I can't wait to get going now."

Pereira broke into the Belenenses first-team back in October, serving as the club's main choice in goal up to the Primeira Liga's winter break in late December.

With Mourinho keen to bring him back, Pereira said goodbye to his teammates and coaches at the Portuguese side. United confirmed his return via their Twitter account.

Joel Pereira
Pereira will act as an understudy for David de Gea and Sergio Romero. Getty

"I'd like to thank everyone at Belenenses who helped me to develop my game and become a better player," Pereira said, Sport Witness reported.

"From the president to the coaches, all my teammates, I really appreciate the opportunity that was given to me. It was a great experience to be able to play for such a traditional club from the Portuguese league and be capable of helping the team to get good results.

"As I'm a Manchester United player, I need to do what my club asks and I'm anxious to return to Manchester and keep working hard with my teammates."