Crystal Palace have suffered a potentially significant blow in their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira.
According to ESPN Brazil, West Ham United are now leading the race to sign the highly-rated 25-year-old, with fellow Premier League sides Leeds United and Palace also keen to secure his signature.
However, the report claims that the Hammers have moved ahead of their domestic rivals as Pereira wants to play European football next term, something only David Moyes’ men can offer.
The Baggies are reportedly set to demand £30m for their South American star this summer after a magnificent 2020/21 caught the eye of several top teams.
Despite West Brom being struck in the relegation zone for the majority of the Premier League season, Pereira bagged 11 goals and provided six assists in 33 top-flight appearances.
His impressive haul and magnificent displays earned several plaudits, including BBC pundit and former Everton midfielder Leon Osman, who praised his set-piece delivery.
“It’s a wonderful corner. We’ve seen Matheus Pereira try this a few times. He tries to find it under the crossbar, inside the goal frame, to see if anyone gets on the end of it,” said Osman.
“Matt Phillips made himself a handful for the goalkeeper, but it’s a wonderful delivery from Pereira.”
The ESPN report claims that Vieira’s side are yet to make contact with West Brom for the Brazilian’s services, but news that West Ham are in pole position will still leave the French tactician feeling gutted.
Vieira has made a solid start to his extensive squad rebuild at Selhurst Park, bringing in Michael Olise and Marc Guehi from Reading and Chelsea, respectively, but many more fresh faces are needed ahead of the upcoming campaign.
The departures of experienced duo James McCarthy and James McArthur have left a sizeable gap in the capital club’s engine room, while Eberechi Eze’s long-term injury has left them short on creativity.
Therefore, Pereira would be able to solve two issues for Vieira such is his quality and versatility, meaning the former Nice boss will be disappointed at this latest revelation.