Although Jose Mourinho has been moaning about a lack of new blood in his squad, he need only look to the returning Andreas Pereira for inspiration
Andreas Pereira impressed in pre-season last year with Manchester United but the improving midfielder felt like he would not get enough first-team chances under Jose Mourinho. To this end, the Brazilian asked for a loan spell, a request that saw Pereira eventually joining Valencia for the year. But it’s time for the 22-year-old to have his chance with the first team of the Old Trafford outfit.
A successful loan spell at Granada followed by yet another one at Valencia, meant that Pereira had gained more than enough first-team experience in La Liga football. The Brazilian was often utilized as wide-playmaker in Spain, however, whenever José Mourinho has used him for Manchester United in pre-season, it seemed like he had the tendency of placing him in a deeper and more central role.
If United had signed Andreas Pereira this summer for £40m we'd all be bubbling with optimism for this season.
— Jake Gallagher (@MatchoftheDave) July 28, 2018
Last season, Andreas impressed in the friendlies under his Portuguese manager, highlighting his impeccable long-range passing and technical quality. This time around, pre-season has been no different as former Brazil under 20 international has yet again delivered the goods with convincing displays. It is perhaps not even a stretch to claim that Pereira has been Manchester United’s best player on the US tour.
Manchester United struggled a lot to find creativity in midfield last season, and this is precisely where the Brazilian could come in handy, as he has a tendency of looking forward for vertical plays and diagonal passing, which helps block defensive lines and create space for his teammates to exploit.
If Scott McTominay gets more game time than Andreas Pereira next season, then José Mourinho has completely lost it. The guy is class.
— Ryan. ? (@Vintage_Utd) July 28, 2018
However, physicality and defensive work do remain untested features for Pereira who is not necessarily used to plying his trade in such a position, especially in a José Mourinho system where he’d be required to offer a defensive contribution greater than the average player in his role, usually would. The presence of Nemanja Matic or Fred would certainly make Andreas’ life easier, whenever he plays, but right now it remains to be seen whether his performances in friendlies will be rewarded with a starting spot at the English Premier League opener against Leicester City on Friday.
Andreas Pereira has no time for your silly pressing pic.twitter.com/eJjO48TRi4
— mads (@studythetape) August 1, 2018
As a prediction, it will be difficult for Andreas Pereira to keep a role in central midfield, in a league as physically-demanding as England’s, unless he surprises us with his work-rate when the official games come. But it does seem like a good idea, in theory, to try him in a central position, as he is a gifted passer and an intelligent footballer who can put his passing range and vision into good use when deployed properly. The problem remains to try and find the right balance.
There is no doubt that Andreas Pereira has the technical quality to succeed in Europe, but a very tough challenge is ahead of him this season. He is not far away at all from breaking into the Seleção, and Brazil boss Tite is reportedly keen on making the transition by adding fresh blood ahead of Copa América 2019, however gaining first team playing time with Manchester United will be a must.