West Ham United are set to face competition over one of their reported transfer targets…
According to French outlet Foot Mercato, the Irons will battle Premier League rivals Aston Villa for the signature of West Brom sensation Matheus Pereira this summer.
They aren’t the only two clubs who are keen on him either, with unnamed Ligue 1, Serie A and Bundesliga sides also mentioned.
The 25-year-old playmaker is under contract at The Hawthorns until 2024, having signed to £30,000-per-week terms in the summer, and he is thought to be valued by the Baggies at around €25m (£22.5m).
Having been lauded as a “genius” with previously unseen technical ability by his former Nurnberg coach Nate Weiss, the Brazilian attacking midfielder was one of the few shining lights in West Brom’s dismal season.
Indeed, the Baggies relied heavily on his creative exploits, as he provided 48.5% of all their goals scored (11 goals, six assists) in the Premier League this term. Only Spurs were as reliant on Harry Kane, by comparison.
After one particularly encouraging display earlier in the season, Match of the Day pundit Jermaine Jenas waxed lyrical about his qualities, saying: “He’s been a top player for them. He had a slow start in the Premier League – I think that’s been a big part of the reason why West Brom all of a sudden look like they can score goals.
“He’s just silky. When he’s on it, he’s just got that lovely left-foot, [he tucked] his penalty away, the delivery into the box for set-pieces was brilliant, and he wanted to showcase his skills.”
The Hammers have had plenty of fantastic midfielders over the years, their current first-choice duo of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice featuring among that list, but for a while they have lacked the sort of engima who has fans on the edge of their seats – perhaps since Dimitri Payet left.
The Frenchman could spark something out of nothing and is arguably the most talented player the east London club have had, at least in the modern era. As wonderful as Soucek is, he’s just not that type of sensation.
In just 48 appearances, Payet delivered 11 goals and 18 assists, and it probably could’ve been so much more. Even after his exit, no West Ham player could match his chances created since the 2015 season, which speaks volumes.
Pereira is cut from the same cloth, having averaged 1.8 key passes per game this season, to build on a return of 2.8 key passes per game in the Championship last term, via WhoScored.
He could be a fine addition to build on what has been a fantastic season for West Ham.
AND in other news, West Ham insider delivers MAJOR David Moyes update that’ll delight fans…