Leicester City have suffered a potentially significant blow in their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion playmaker Matheus Pereira.
According to the Express & Star, the Baggies are likely to demand around £30m for the 25-year-old this summer, possibly placing him out of Leicester’s price range.
The Foxes had been linked with a move for Pereira earlier in the transfer window, but Brendan Rodgers may now be forced to prioritise other targets.
After a second consecutive fifth-placed finish in the Premier League last season, Rodgers has wasted no time bolstering his ranks over the summer.
Patson Daka and Boubakary Soumare have joined from RB Salzburg and Lille respectively, for a combined fee of £45m, while former Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand has joined on a free transfer.
However, the Foxes are expected to add further reinforcements ahead of the upcoming campaign, and a move for Pereira appeared to be on the cards.
The 25-year-old was West Brom’s standout performer as they suffered relegation in 2020/21, bagging 11 goals and providing six assists in 33 Premier League appearances. His eye-catching displays attracted the attention of several top-flight teams, with new Baggies boss Valerien Ismael admitting that he’s likely to leave The Hawthorns.
“With Pereira – we spoke really openly about the situation. I don’t have a problem. We made it simple, you are in, or you are out, ” said Ismael.
“But if you are in, you are 100 percent. He said in training he would give 100 percent and he is focused. I can’t say anything else.”
Pereira’s one-man show at times last season earned numerous admirers, 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.”
With the ongoing pandemic significantly reducing clubs’ transfer budgets, and Leicester operating at a financial level below the Premier League’s other big hitters and investing significantly in the market already, Pereira’s price tag may prevent him from joining the FA Cup holders this summer, which would leave Rodgers feeling gutted.
The Northern Irish tactician would surely have loved the Brazilian ace at the King Power Stadium as he attempts to break into the top four, but that prospect now appears unlikely.