Andreas Pereira must be given the chance to shine next season

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

After The Daily Mail’s live blog (July 4, 16:46) claimed Manchester United could hand midfielder Andreas Pereira a new deal, the club confirmed the news on Friday.

Pereira’s new terms will keep him at the club until June 2023, with the option to extend for a further year.

What’s the word?

The 23-year-old only had a year left on his previous deal at Old Trafford and there were question marks over his long-term future at the club following a campaign of limited appearances in the first-team.

Reports in recent weeks and months had suggested Pereira could be used as makeweight in United’s deal to sign Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire, but the Brazilian now looks set to stay for the foreseeable future.

Glimpses of potential

Voted the club’s goal of the season, Pereira’s wonder strike against Southampton at Old Trafford last season was the ultimate symbol of the Brazilian’s enormous talents. In United’s current crop of central midfielders, perhaps only Paul Pogba could have had the audacity and the actual technique to score something similar.

But with the Frenchman linked with a move away from the club, Pereira could be the man to benefit the most. When you have someone like Pogba in the team, there’s always a certain reluctance as a teammate to do the creative work yourself. After all, you have a World Cup winning superstar in your ranks.

The indoor football skills in the video below have to be seen to be believed…

As former United player and current academy boss Nicky Butt attested to, Pereira just wasn’t the same player in the senior squad that had stood out so much in the youth teams.

He said in May: “He needs to do the things he was doing naturally in the Under 23s and Under 19s. He’s technically very gifted, he’s a brave, tough boy and can run all day. He needs to get into the rhythm and get more confident as time goes on.

“When you get in the team regularly, then you can express yourself more. Scott McTominay has done that and I think Andreas will soon too because he’s a top talent.”

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Pogba leaving would open the door for someone like Pereira to step up to the plate. No longer will he feel like having to pass the ball to a more senior teammate or taking the easy option. The Brazilian will feel empowered at perhaps taking on that added responsibility and could well be the in-house option to replace the former Juventus star.

At Premier League 2 level, Pereira racked up nine goals and seven assists in 44 games. Next season has to be the time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backs him to do exactly that, but on the big stage.

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