On loan in La Liga, Andreas Pereira is a rising Brazilian star fighting for a place both with Manchester United and at the 2018 World Cup
Andreas Pereira has proven himself as one of the best young talents in the Spanish league, plying his trade at struggling Granada this season. But has the 21-year-old shown enough potential to suggest that he could be a key element for two giants in world football, such as Manchester United and Brazil’s national team in the next few years?
Andreas Pereira was born and raised in Belgium, before moving to Holland after signing with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, at the age of nine. At the Manchester United Premier Cup in 2011, Andreas caught the eye of several Premier League sides, but a visit from Sir Alex Ferguson convinced him to sign with the Mancunian club. The youngster did not disappoint, and after a series of impressive performances in United’s youth ranks, he earned first team promotion in 2014.
By that time, Pereira had attracted the interest of several members of Brazil’s football federation. Brazil under-20 manager Alexandre Gallo, while on a European tour, had a meeting with the Belgium under-17 international, where an agreement was reached. Andreas pledged his loyalty for Brazil’s national team, and was part of the World Cup under-20 side in May 2015. The youngster played an important role in helping his country go far in the tournament, but his mouthwatering solo goal against Serbia in the final was not enough, as the European side pulled off the 2-1 win in extra time.
A year later, Brazil was preparing for the Rio Olympic Games. It was the only FIFA-recognized trophy, that the most glorious country in World Cup history had never conquered. The expectations were high, and Andreas expressed his desire to be part of this project. But United coach Louis van Gaal had other ideas, and kept Andreas on the bench for the majority of the season. The Brazilian asked to leave on loan in January, but van Gaal blocked the move, convincing him that he would grant him extra playing time – which never happened. Pereira was then dropped from Rogério Micale’s squad, missing out on the chance of winning Olympic gold.
At the start of the 2016/2017 season, United appointed José Mourinho as their new boss. The Portuguese tactician publicly stated his desire to maintain Pereira, but admitted that a loan spell would do him good. On 26 August 2016, the move to Granada was official. Andreas has since then, started 21 league games out of 23, while being deployed as a central midfielder or as a wide playmaker on the left-hand side.
With this technique, ball retention under pressure, close control and decent passing range, Andreas imposed himself as one of the most exciting prospects this season. In addition to that, the set-piece specialist has netted 4 league goals, and created many scoring opportunities with his crosses, corners and free kicks.
If Granada manage to somehow escape relegation this season, Andreas Pereira would certainly be one of the essential reasons. It would not be a surprise if the young Brazilian manages to outperform Paulinho in the near future, and grab his spot at the national side. But with the 2018 World Cup on the horizon, does the Manchester United man still have time to earn himself a spot for 2018, or will it be a bit too early?