Man City sign Sunderland keeper Marton Fulop on loan
Fulop has played 14 games for Sunderland this season
Manchester City have recruited Sunderland keeper Marton Fulop on an emergency loan deal for the remaining three games of the season.
City had hoped to recall their on-loan keeper Joe Hart from Birmingham to cover for the injured Shay Given, but were blocked and turned to Fulop.
The 26-year-old is Sunderland’s third choice and will join City on Wednesday.
With Given’s regular back-up Stuart Taylor also injured, City were left with the Faroe Islands’ Gunnar Nielsen.
“The club, with the backing of the Premier League, have been in contact throughout the day with both Birmingham City and Sunderland with regards to bringing either Joe Hart or Marton Fulop to the team on an emergency basis,” read a Man City statement on their website.
“Agreement has not been reached with Birmingham, but we anticipate that Marton Fulop will join us in training (on Wednesday) and we sincerely thank him and Sunderland AFC for their help in this situation.”
Premier League rules prevent players moving outside of a transfer window unless in “exceptional circumstances”, but they granted Fulop’s temporary move “in line with our rules regarding injuries to goalkeepers.”
It is understood the Premier League felt Hart’s return three games early from his season-long loan deal would offer City too much of an advantage as they chase fourth place and qualification for the Champions League.
Hart was chosen as the goalkeeper in the Professional Footballer’s Association Premier League team of the year and is likely to be called up to England’s World Cup squad.
Sixth-placed Manchester City, plus Aston Villa, Tottenham and Liverpool are all vying for fourth place in the final domestic league table, which comes with the chance of additional millions of pounds from a lucrative run in the Champions League.
Birmingham would also stand to lose out if they fell significantly from their current ninth place in the table with Hart missing.
Hungary international Fulop has played 14 games for Sunderland this season but has fallen behind Craig Gordon and Trevor Carson in the pecking order at the Stadium of Light.
Fulop, who was once Paul Robinson’s understudy at Tottenham, has also had loan spells with Chesterfield, Coventry, Leicester and Stoke and has 20 international caps.
He is likely to play against Aston Villa on Saturday, while Roberto Mancini’s side also have to play Tottenham on 5 May and West Ham on 9 May.
Republic of Ireland international Given has been an integral figure between the posts for the Eastlands outfit since joining from Newcastle in February 2009.
His presence forced Hart, 23, to seek first-team opportunities elsewhere.
“I am devastated for Shay,” added Hart after Given was ruled out for the rest of the campaign. “I texted him. You don’t want that to happen to anyone, especially someone like him, a really great keeper and a good person.
“All I can do is wish him a speedy recovery and hope he gets back between the posts as quickly as possible.”
Nielsen had never played in the Premier League until the last 17 minutes of Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Arsenal, where Given had to leave the field on a stretcher.
He arrived at Eastlands in 2009 on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers after a loan spell with Blue Square Premier side Wrexham.
Last month Chelsea faced a similar goalkeeping crisis, when Ross Turnbull was their only fit goalkeeper for the league game against West Ham, with the west Londoners promoting academy product Rhys Taylor to the bench.