Leeds United have suffered a potentially significant blow in their pursuit to sign West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira.
According to Turkish journalist Ekrem Konur, Saudi side Al Hilal have made an initial offer of £5.9m (€7m) for the 25-year-old magician following an impressive 2020/21 campaign.
Several Premier League sides have been linked with a move for Pereira in recent weeks, including Leeds, but Konur claims Al Hilal are currently locked in talks with West Brom after making an opening bid.
Despite the Baggies’ struggles last season, Pereira enjoyed a fabulous maiden campaign in the Premier League, bagging 11 goals and providing a further six assists for his teammates in 33 appearances.
Although his efforts weren’t enough to keep West Brom in the top-flight, the Brazilian’s standout displays did enough to catch the eye of several potential suitors.
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds are one side credited with an interest in the diminutive forward, but the club’s hierarchy are going to have to act quickly in order to secure their man.
The Whites shocked many onlookers with their performances, finishing in an incredible ninth position following a 16-year absence from the Premier League.
However, Bielsa will be keen to build on that solid start to life back in the elite league and has already added former Barcelona left-back Junior Firpo to his ranks ahead of 2021/22.
Another position where the enigmatic Argentine tactician is expected to strengthen is in central midfield. Rodrigo de Paul was heavily linked with a move to Elland Road last summer, but the South American has since joined La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.
Therefore, a move for Pereira appears to be a logical solution to Leeds’ needs. Poland international Mateusz Klich was a mainstay in the club’s engine room last term, but the numbers indicate that Pereira would be a significant upgrade on the 31-year-old.
As per WhoScored, Klich managed a respectable four goals and five assists while on league duty last season, falling behind the West Brom man on both metrics.
Pereira also outperformed him when it came down to the underlying figures as well, though, managing 1.2 dribbles per league game and 1.8 key passes compared to Klich’s tally of 0.4 and 1.3, respectively.
Signing Pereira would bolster an already impressive Leeds attack, but Director of Football Victor Orta will have to see off substantial competition for the £13.5m-rated ace’s signature.