Louis van Gaal could use this weekend’s match against West Bromwich Albion to prove to Andreas Pereira he does have a future at Manchester United.
The 19-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was arguably the star of the show for United’s Under-21 side as they dominated and beat a very talented Fulham youth team 4-1.
Two goals from Joe Rothwell and Robin van Persie put the game beyond any doubt as the West London side had to be content with a 90th-minute consolation goal from 17-year-old Stevie Humphrys.
The win ensured the Red Devils extended their lead at the top of the U21 Premier League table and will remain at least two points clear of Liverpool even if they were to win their game in hand. Chelsea, if they win their three games in hand, however, would join them on 34 points from 19 games, but Warren Joyce can be delighted with his side’s position nonetheless.
Why van Gaal should look to increase Pereira’s exposure to first-team football starting from this weekend
As mentioned, the youngster is out of contract at the end of the season and the Manchester Evening News has reported Paris Saint Germain are willing to triple the midfielder’s salary if he agrees to leave for nothing.
The situation is reminiscent of Paul Pogba’s before he left for Juventus and van Gaal should be doing everything in his power to ensure the youngster knows he has a future in the club’s first team.
The Brazilian has appeared on the bench in five of United’s last six games but has come on once, for 13 minutes in the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
If van Gaal can give the youngster at least 30 minutes in the game against West Brom then it could be hugely beneficial in the long-term and potentially make contract talks run a lot smoother.