Manchester United are set to hand a new contract to 18-year-old midfielder Andreas Pereira after he was named amongst the substitutes during last weekend’s 4-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford.
This is according to the Daily Star, who claim that United are keen to tie the teenager down to a new long-term contract in order to avoid losing him for nothing next summer.
United keen to avoid another Pogba saga
The Red Devils are determined to avoid a repeat of the scenario which eventually led to Paul Pogba walking away from Old Trafford in 2012. The France international became disillusioned with life at Manchester United, due to his lack of first-team opportunities, and subsequently joined Juventus.
Pogba has since gone on to become one of the world’s most revered central midfielders, with many predicting that he will land his hands on the prestigious Ballon d’Or award in the future.
Pereira, who turns 19 on January 1, is not regarded as highly at Old Trafford as Pogba was. But it’s clear that Louis van Gaal sees something special in the Belgium-born midfielder, who represented the Brazil Under-20 side for the first time earlier this year.
Pereira: My heart is Brazilian
He had previously played for Belgium at youth level - like another Manchester United academy product, Adnan Januzaj - but admitted in an interview with United’s official website: "My heart is Brazilian."
Pereira made his Manchester United first-team debut in last month’s humiliating 4-0 defeat to League One side MK Dons in the Capital One Cup second round.
However, the Brazilian made a decent impression after coming off the substitutes’ bench and was one of the few Red Devils’ players to emerge from the match with any credit.
Ferguson played a key role in Pereira signing
Manchester United worked hard to sign Pereira from PSV Eindhoven in 2011. The likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool were monitoring the youngster, but a personal invitation from Sir Alex Ferguson in November of that year eventually sealed the deal in United’s favour.
Pereira further enhanced his burgeoning reputation with a fine performance for United’s Under-21 side against Sunderland on Monday night.
Although Januzaj deservedly took the headlines for his superb hat-trick, Pereira also impressed by scoring the game’s only other goal as United record a comfortable 4-0 win.
Van Gaal’s track record of helping youngsters to fulfil their true potential is likely to encourage Pereira to extend his contract with the Red Devils.
The Dutch coach famously handed Xavi and Andres Iniesta their first-team debuts will managing FC Barcelona, and has already played a number of youngster in his first few months since arriving at Old Trafford.