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Mika Signing Throws Up An Interesting Goalkeeper Debate For January

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Sunderland have announced the signing of 25-year old goalkeeper ‘Mika’ from Portuguese side Boavista. Following our initial relief that a back-up goalie has been acquired, the next logical question is - who gives way once Vito Mannone returns to fitness and two senior ‘keepers become three?

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Sunderland have signed goalkeeper, Mika, from Portugese side Boavista.

Rather disappointingly, Mika’s actual name is Michael. Michael Simoes Domingues to give him his full title. Admittedly, it does sound a little more exotic when written in full, but there’s a lack of  ‘Grace Kelly’ about this signing, smacking as it does of necessity rather than presenting any thrill, glitz or glamour.

One thing, at least we know there was no administrative error committed by the club or any attempt at blaming FIFA’s online transfer system (TMS) for a failure to land a much needed goalkeeper on transfer deadline day.

A statement from SAFC read: "The deal has been ratified by FIFA, after Sunderland completed all the necessary protocols in advance of the transfer window closing" and that the problem with the TMS system had been at the Portuguese side.

A former Portugese Under-21 international, Michael has been first choice ‘keeper at Boavista for a couple of years. The Porto-based club finished 14th (out of 18) in the Primeira Liga last season but actually conceded the sixth fewest goals in the league; presumably a factor in Sunderland’s interest.

Leicester were credited with being after his signature earlier this summer; and they were rumoured to be offering around £1m for him. Certainly there was a buy-out clause in his contract, but no fee has been confirmed by Sunderland or Boavista at the time of writing.

Standing six feet tall, Mika is the same height as Jordan Pickford and a couple of centimetres shorter than Vito Mannone. The immediate thought we have though is, if Sunderland are likely to have three senior goalkeepers by November or December, does that give David Moyes some flexibility to sell one?

Mannone, currently out injured for an initial estimate of three months, had posted on social media that he was confident of an earlier return to fitness. Jordan Pickford, one of football’s hottest young goalkeeping properties is a hugely saleable asset, presuming he can stay fit and produce some decent form for the first team.

A conundrum indeed.