Leicester City have been handed a potentially significant boost in their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira.
The 25-year-old Brazilian has been heavily linked with several Premier League sides, including Leicester, in recent weeks after suffering relegation with the Baggies last season.
Continued speculation over Pereira’s future led to new Albion boss Valerien Ismael questioning his commitment at the weekend (as reported by the Leicester Mercury).
“He was clear he wants to leave,” said Ismael. “He is not committed to the Championship and not committed to us. I said I accept this decision, but I have to take my decision, and now we need to solve the situation.”
However, the French-German tactician’s bold statement didn’t go down well with Pereira, who responded with a passionate statement of his own.
“I remained silent and was not going to address anything until after the transfer window out of respect for the fans and my teammates, however after being called ‘not committed’ I felt extremely disrespected as a professional, I’ve been living off football since I was 12 years old, I chose to give up family time and ordinary fun to chase after a dream of a better future for myself and those around me…
“I want to leave, I want to seek new experiences, but want to do this in a fair and correct manner. I will be forever grateful to WBA, to its fans and to every single professional who works at the club and who welcomed me with open arms,” the statement read.
News that Pereira wants to leave the Hawthorns and that Ismael has accepted his decision will surely leave the Leicester supporters buzzing with excitement.
Nate Weiss, one of his coaches during a loan spell with German outfit Nurnberg, described the South American as “genius” in a previous interview, and his impressive exploits in the Premier League last season give credence to that bold statement.
Despite West Brom being marooned in the relegation zone for much of the campaign, Pereira still bagged 11 goals and provided a further six assists for his teammates in 33 top-flight appearances.
Those tallies far exceeded the output of Leicester pair Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez in 2020/21, highlighting the added quality that the former Sporting Lisbon ace would bring to the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes will be aiming to finally break into the top four next term after consecutive fifth-place finishes under Brendan Rodgers, but in order to do that, the Northern Irish boss will need strength in depth throughout his squad.
Thursday night fixtures in the Europa League will make the Foxes task even harder, meaning Rodgers will need multiple options in each position for him to be able to fight on several fronts.
Therefore, Pereira would be an ideal acquisition for the Midlands outfit this summer, and the club’s fanbase will surely be urging Jon Rudkin to bring him to the club.