Mixu Paatelainen insists there will be no automatic starting place for Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima should he complete his move to Dundee United.
But the Tannadice manager thinks the 32-year-old's experience will be a boost to the Scottish Premiership club.
Kawashima has agreed to sign subject to a work permit being granted.
"There's no automatic starting place for anybody," Paatelainen told BBC Scotland. "Of course, we want competition for any position we have."
Kawashima has been without a club since leaving Standard Liege in the summer in search of first-team football after losing his place to former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Yohann Thuram-Ulien.
"Certainly, Eiji will strengthen that competition in the goalkeeper's position," said Paatelainen.
"He's a seasoned professional with plenty caps - over 70 caps for Japan.
"He's been to major tournaments. It would be nice if there was a possibility of Eiji joining us because he would help our young goalkeepers with his experience.
"It's depending on a work permit. Eiji, we've agreed everything with him, but obviously we can't sign the contract until the work permit issue has been solved. I don't know how long it takes."
United lost last season's first choice, Radoslaw Ciernziak, to Wisla Krakow in the close season.
However, following a 5-0 defeat away to Celtic in his second game in charge, Paatelainen promoted 22-year-old Michal Szromnik from the bench for Saturday's 1-0 win over Ross County, a match Kawashima attended.
"Michal played really well against Ross County, kept a clean sheet," said Paatelainen. "Luis before that did really well.
"So we have, hopefully in the future, three quality goalkeepers fighting for a place."
Kawashima played for Omiya Ardija and Nagoya Grampus Eight in his homeland before, in 2007, being transferred to Kawasaki Frontale for 150 million yen, which was a J-League record at the time.
A move to Lierse in the Belgian top flight followed in 2010 and, two years later, Kawashima switched to Pro League rivals Liege.
Paatelainen revealed the opportunity to sign the Japan stopper came about "just through my contacts".
"It's not everyday that that calibre of player is out of contract at this time of year but, luckily for us, that's the situation," added the Finn.
"Looking forward to working with him, hopefully."