Is Andreas Pereira wishing he’d ignored Jose Mourinho’s advice to stay at Man Utd?
Background photo: André Zahn (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Andreas Pereira failed to make Manchester United’s matchday squad in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton – the fifth time in as many weeks that Jose Mourinho has left him out of a Premier League fixture.
The 22-year-old’s last appearance in any competition came all the way back in mid-October and Pereira must be wishing he ignored Mourinho’s promise that he’d “get a chance” to feature in the first-team.
Valencia were keen to turn last season’s loan deal with Pereira permanent over the summer, but the United midfielder opted to fight for his place at Old Trafford. Is he regretting that decision now?
Pereira quickly lost Mourinho’s trust despite last season’s comments
Mourinho was critical of Pereira’s decision to join Valencia on loan last season, believing the midfielder should fight for a first-team spot at United. It was the second time in as many years he’d sought a temporary move away from the club to get regular playing time, having contributed eight goals in 37 games for Granada in 2016/17.
Pereira’s Valencia decision was vindicated as he made 29 appearances for the Liga outfit, scoring and creating six goals. He said he was a better player for his stint at the Mestalla and had the option to make his loan deal permanent over the summer.
With Mourinho citing a desire to have Pereira in the squad for the 2018/19 campaign, in addition to promising opportunities to the Brazilian international ahead of pre-season, it was easy to see why he was open to staying at Old Trafford.
His manager was true to his word in the first few weeks of the Premier League season too, handing Pereira consecutive starts in their opening two games and bring him off the bench in their first Champions League outing. Things have spiralled since then, however.
The Brazil-born-midfielder has made just five appearances in all competitions, racking up a paltry 21 minutes of Premier League football since August and only 14 in the Champions League. He's made only 18 appearances for United since joining from PSV Eindhoven in 2012.
Mourinho hasn’t trusted him for the big European encounters against the likes of Valencia and Juventus, but he’s left him out of league games against West Ham United, Newcastle United, Everton, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Southampton too. It may raise questions over his long-term future.
Big decision to make in January
With Pereira struggling to make United’s matchday squad, he may be forced to leave the club in pursuit of more playing time. The midfielder’s contract is up in 2019, but United have the option to trigger a 12-month extension so there isn’t any rush to hash out his long-term future.
A loan move in January could be a move that benefits all parties, as Pereira needs to continue developing at his age and even Mourinho recently admitted that he needs more game time. The United boss revealed he was considering the Brazilian for their last Champions League group game as “some players….are not playing a lot”.
Let alone in January, there could be a lot of interest in Pereira’s signature next summer if he remains on the periphery at Old Trafford. It’s unlikely he would sign a new deal while struggling for minutes, so a sale might be the only option Mourinho has. Losing him on a free transfer in 2020 is a situation the club don’t want to be in, so cashing in becomes the next best option.