This past weekend, West Bromwich Albion were relegated from England’s top flight. The team lacked the quality to survive, and even despite Sam Allardyce turning them into a well-functioning team, they couldn’t make up the necessary ground to stay in the division. But if there was one shining light in the otherwise unremarkable season for the Baggies, it would have to be their star attacking midfielder – Matheus Pereira.
Under greater defensive stability with Sam Allardyce, Matheus Pereira found form and freedom to go on and strut his stuff in attack. The 25-year-old Brazilian midfielder has finished the season off in style to bring his current tally to 10 goals and 5 assists in 31 matches – nearly a goal contribution every other game. Having formerly been in the Bundesliga with FC Nürnberg on loan from Sporting CP in 2018-19, the race to sign the wing wizard may be more tightly contested beyond just Premier League sides.
Reports in the German media today are indicating that Leipzig are also interested in signing the services of the Brazilian. With his flair and astute awareness of space in attack, Pereira would be an excellent addition for the Red Bulls. In the quest to find the best possible fit for the relegated star, we first start with die Roten Bullen.
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In many ways, Matheus Pereira and his attacking brilliance would be a perfect fit for the Red Bulls. Versatility is a requirement within the Red Bull model, particularly Jesse Marsch’s principles of play seen at Salzburg. Pereira meanwhile has played four different positions for the Baggies this year, including both wings, attacking midfield and even one stellar game as the team’s centre forward.
One facet of Matheus Pereira’s play is his natural inclination to attack down the middle of the pitch. Even when playing as a winger, the Brazilian likes to float around and occupy pockets of space that he sees fit in that specific moment. Often times, that leads him toward the centre of the pitch, where he’s quite adept at combining in tight areas, playing through-balls and shooting from distance. These are all attractive qualities for Leipzig, who often like to utilize layoffs, and attack down the middle of the pitch.
Further, from a defensive standpoint, Matheus Pereira is never afraid to put in a shift. He’s second to Conor Gallagher in number of pressures this season at West Brom, and has shown to have the necessarily discipline to track opposition fullbacks when deployed on the wing. He would need to up this side of his game to some degree under Jesse Marsch at Leipzig, but would certainly fit into the coach’s pressing mentality nonetheless.
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While Leicester City have had a stellar 2020-21 season and look set to finish inside the top four for the first time since 2015-16, you can’t help but feel something is still missing for the team in the creative department. James Maddison’s been in and out of the side, while Ayoze Perez and Dennis Praet don’t exactly scream creativity even if they can produce special moments. Perhaps what is missing for the Foxes is a Matheus Pereira type of player, who can operate in between the lines, ease their attacking transitions, and deliver quality passes into the penalty area.
Pereira would be capable of playing for Rodgers either as the lone attacking midfielder or on the wing, and would suit their counter attacking style superbly well. With his exceptional ability to produce through balls and create chances, he’d be a dream fit to work alongside Jamie Vardy as the striker enters the twilight of his career. Vardy thrives off of anything that he can chase, and Pereira would provide loads of opportunities for the British striker to run in behind the opposition. Given Leicester’s ambitions, Matheus Pereira is exactly the player they need to achieve greater success in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
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Slight outsiders for the signing of Pereira, Southampton would possibly be one of the best fits for the Brazilian’s style of play. He’d suit Ralph Hasenhuttl’s pressing 4-2-2-2 very well, as it would give him the opportunity to primarily operate in central areas. He’d be free to cut inside all he likes, in a cross between his two very best positions – wing and attacking midfield. While Pereira is only a half-decent presser of the ball, so are Southampton (despite their best efforts). He’d have lots of room to improve in the system, while still being given freedom to pull off his magic in attack and take some of the set-piece burden off of James Ward-Prowse. Another reason why this move would make so much sense is that it would fulfill a creative void that has been missing at Southampton for years. The Saints simply don’t have a creative presence, and often have to create chances through set-pieces or pressing. Matheus Pereira would add the necessarily flair to their attack and provide a bit more gusto than what is currently being offered by Hasenhuttl’s attacking midfielders.
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A final potential destination for Matheus Pereira could be David Moyes’ West Ham. The Hammers play in a style that most closely resembles West Bromwich, with a decreased focus on possession, and an increased focus on attacking quickly upon winning the ball. As opposed to Southampton however, the Hammers rely heavily on crossing and attacking down the wings, which would suit Matheus Pereira and the excellent delivery that he can provide into the box.
Pereira plays very similarly to Jesse Lingard, with excellence and brilliance on the ball mixed with speed and precision to help a team get up the field at speed. Being very comfortable at producing quality passes into the final third and penalty area, the 25-year-old should be a perfect fit to play off Michail Antonio and the other attackers around him. While Pereira may be attracted to the likes of Leicester and Leipzig over David Moyes’ team, West Ham could certainly be a good option for Pereira should the supposed ‘plan A’ and ‘plan B’ be cut off.
So there it is! An analysis of the best possible fit for Matheus Pereira next season. Where do you think the Brazilian should land? Be sure to share your thoughts on our Twitter poll @mastermindsite and subscribe to never miss an article like this. Thanks for reading and see you soon.
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