By 90Min
July 20, 2017

In a world of extortionate fees and record breaking transfer windows, the chances of youth breaking through are becoming less likely by the day. Despite Sir Alex Ferguson's efforts to dismantle Alan Hansen's remark on not being able to win anything with kids, the Scotsman's work has clearly been forgotten. 

Managers can no longer wait for development to come, players, at whatever age, need to be ready to cope with the demands placed upon their shoulders and after a year on loan in Spain, Andreas Pereira is a player who fits into this category. 

Born in Belgium to Brazilian parents, Pereira spent the early years of his life playing for Lommel United, the same side his father began his footballing career with. At 9-years-old, the Brazilian joined PSV Eindhoven as he began his climb through the footballing ladder and before long his natural talent was spotted during an appearance at Manchester United's Premier Cup in 2011.

GRANADA, SPAIN - MAY 06: Danilo of Real Madrid CF (L) competes for the ball with Andreas Pereira of Granada CF (R) ¼during the La Liga match between Granada CF v Real Madrid CF at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on May 6, 2017 in Granada, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)
Aitor Alcalde/GettyImages

What followed was a host of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal entering the race for the Duffel-born midfielder. However, it was an appearance from Sir Alex Ferguson that turned the tide, with Manchester United earning themselves a new star in the end.

Fast forward six years, and Pereira finds himself on the fringes of first team football at Old Trafford. Despite Granada's relegation, he caught the eye during his time in Spain has he showed his midfield versatility - capable of playing in the number ten position, as a left-winger and more recently in a deeper number six role. 

The 21-year-old's versatility makes him a dream for José Mourinho if the Manchester United manager was to switch to a 4-3-3, a formation which brings out the best in record-signing Paul Pogba. Pereira's attacking flair along with his grace on the ball allows him to play anywhere in a midfield three.

In a game where United will hold the majority of possession, using Pereira as a no.6 will allow him to create from deeper areas and stretch defences - something the Red Devils failed to do too frequently last season during the absence of Michael Carrick. 

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial's pace and willingness to drive forward can create havoc for opposition defences, and if Pereira is to play in a sitting role and dictate play behind Pogba and Ander Herrera - like Mourinho has been using him during United's pre-season tour of the US - Mourinho could reap the benefits.


However, there's no doubt that the number ten role is the midfielder's best position. Before the Colombian joined Bayern Munich, reports suggested United had enquired about James Rodríguez - with Real Madrid's asking price hitting the £60m mark. 

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 19: James Rodriguez of Bayern Muenchen looks on during the Audi Football Summit 2017 match between Bayern Muenchen and Arsenal FC at Shanghai Stadium during the Audi Summer Tour 2017 on July 19, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

A marquee signing with the talent that Rodríguez possesses would have been a welcome addition and one which fans would have gained bragging rights from, but it comes with a number of factors; one being that the 25-year-old would have had to settle in England and the Premier League. 

Before each performance, he would take the £60m price tag onto the pitch with him, meaning each mistake is recorded, each poor performance brings doubts over his transfer fee and pressure piles up. Just look at how Pogba has been treated over the last year.

These factors wouldn't play on the mind of Pereira, though. The Brazilian has publicly spoken about his willingness to earn game time at Manchester United and when given a chance, he has never disappointed. By including him, Mourinho dispels the myth of him not giving youth a chance, whilst also keeping United fans happy as he sticks with their policy of bringing youth stars to first team level.

SANDY UT- JULY 17: Danilo Acosta #25 of Real Salt Lake fights for the ball with Andreas Pereira #15 of Manchester United during the second half of the International friendly game at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 17, 2017 in Sandy, Utah. Manchester United won 2-1. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./GettyImages

At 21, Pereira has a desire to learn, and Mourinho indulges in situations when players give their all to him, just as Marcus Rashford did last year. His dazzling performances whilst playing in a relegation-bound Granada outfit shows the quality of his attitude, rather than one Adnan Januzaj - who decided to have a year on holiday at Sunderland. 

His inclusion on Manchester United's pre-season tour - despite spending a year on loan -suggests Mourinho has the youngster in his long-term plans, whereas Januzaj's sale was sanctioned as soon as possible, with the Belgian jetting off to Spain. 

There's no reason as to why chances shouldn't be awarded to Pereira as United compete in four different competitions next season, with the objective to win all four. Either as a ten, out wide or as a deep-lying playmaker, Pereira can offer Mourinho multiple solutions without having to spend a penny and following the philosophy at Old Trafford of bringing through youth products. 


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