7:49pm Tuesday 11th February 2014
By Scott Wilson
MIDDLESBROUGH have signed Real Madrid goalkeeper Tomas Mejias Osorio on loan for the remainder of the season.
Osorio agreed to move to Teesside late on transfer-deadline day at the end of January, but complications with the 25-year-old's international clearance meant the deal could only be rubber-stamped and confirmed this evening.
A regular at B team and C team level for Real Madrid, Osorio has made one senior appearance for the Spanish giants, playing the final ten minutes of a 4-0 home win over Getafe in 2011.
The Madrid-born shot-stopper, who was the captain of Real Madrid Castilla, the club's second team, in the first half of the season, has represented Spain at under-19 and under-20 level.
He worked under Aitor Karanka when the Middlesbrough manager was assistant to Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu, and is the first overseas signing of the Spaniard's Riverside reign.
He almost certainly would not have joined had Boro been able to agree a deal for Shay Given to remain on Teesside until the end of the season, but Karanka was forced to look elsewhere when it became clear by the early evening of deadline-day that Given would be returning to Aston Villa.
Karanka turned to his Spanish connections to secure the services of Osorio, although difficulties with the international registration system meant that the transfer deadline passed with Boro officials still unsure whether the necessary paperwork had been completed in time.
It has taken the best part of a fortnight to get to the bottom of the situation, but FIFA confirmed Osorio's transfer today and the Spaniard is available for Saturday's game at Watford should Karanka choose to use him.
At this stage, it is unclear whether Osorio has been signed as a potential number one for when Given departs, or whether he will compete with Dimi Konstantopoulos for the role of understudy to Jason Steele.
Steele's recovery from an ankle injury is nearing completion, although there could be a slight lag between Given's return to Villa Park and the former England under-21 international's availability for a first-team game.
Meanwhile, Boro youth defender Dael Fry has been selected for the England under-17 squad for the Algarve Tournament, which takes place between February 22 and March 2. Fellow Boro youngsters Matthew Elsdon and Callum Cooke have been placed on standby for the tournament.
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