West Bromwich Albion’s relegation back into the Championship has led to increased speculation surrounding the future of impressive playmaker, Matheus Pereira.
Leeds United are one club whose name has been thrown into the mix to sign the 25-year-old this summer, although what their intentions are with regard to that deal remain to be seen.
As per David Anderson, Pereira’s agent has had contact with Leeds, but the Yorkshire club haven’t followed up the offer by opening transfer talks with the Baggies.
However, it’s still an intriguing link to discuss:
Is it a good potential move?
You’ve got to say it is, although Leeds will hope to sort out a couple of high-priority positions beforehand this summer.
If they can add a left-back and central midfielder to Marcelo Bielsa’s squad, Leeds will certainly be stronger than they were last season.
Then, it will be the chance to look at players like Pereira to offer depth and unpredictability to the attacking unit.
Pereira scored 11 goals and registered six assists in 33 Premier League appearances last season. Only Patrick Bamford in the Leeds squad scored more, whilst it’s also worth noting that West Brom were fighting a very different battle to the Whites for a lot of the season.
In terms of his quality and previous performance in the Premier League, you can’t knock that it would be a good move for Leeds, particularly at the £15m quoted.
Would he start?
This is perhaps where it becomes a little bit sticky for Leeds and Pereira.
Jack Harrison is set to return from Manchester City on a permanent deal and Raphinha should be retained as Bielsa’s go-to option on the right. That pair contributed to over 30 goals combined last season in the Premier League and there’s no reason why they won’t both continue to start.
Bamford’s 17 goals have meant Rodrigo Moreno has been regularly pushed into a No.10 position to get him into the side, but he’s competing with Tyler Roberts for minutes.
Pereira, then, isn’t anywhere near a guaranteed starter if he makes the switch to Elland Road.
Pablo Hernandez’s departure needs to be mentioned. The Spanish playmaker is moving on after a limited impact in the Premier League last season, and despite the fact Leeds coped without leaning on his creativity for a lot of last year, he still needs replacing.
Pereira could be that man, but he would still walk into an ultra-competitive attacking line-up and that’s without even mentioning the likes of Helder Costa and Ian Poveda.
What does he offer?
There’s little denying that Pereira is an exciting player to watch and 17 goal involvements in such a poor West Brom side last season is a return that Leeds will like to see.
Just beneath that, though, you’ve got a player that offers a lot of positivity. The 25-year-old averages two shots per game, 1.8 key passes and attempts to dribble regularly (Whoscored.com). He’s also got a killer set-piece, which Leeds could undoubtedly find a use for.
Pereira’s work out of possession might have to improve under Bielsa, and that will be something Leeds’ scouting department really have to chip into as they weigh up whether what the playmaker brings with the ball at his feet makes him a punt worth taking.
Above all else, Pereira offers Leeds a chance to evolve their depth of attacking options.
In the last two seasons he’s outperformed Costa in both the Championship and Premier League, so would be a better alternative to Harrison or Raphinha. He’s also 10 years Hernandez’s junior, leaving Leeds with a long-term replacement when it comes to El Mago.
However, we will have to see how things develop when it comes to Pereira to Leeds after his agent has made his move. You feel that right now, the player needs the club more than the club needs the player.