Avid La Liga viewers did not have to wait long to get a timely reminder of Gabriel Pires’ qualities.
The Leganes playmaker scored the winner to ensure his side enjoyed a perfect start to the new season with a 1-0 triumph over Alaves in a somewhat uninspiring curtain raiser on Friday night.
Though this is not the first time that Pires has made the difference for the La Liga underdogs. He was hugely influential as Leganes survived their first ever season in Spain’s top flight last time around and it appears that he will be sticking around to ensure they repeat the feat.
“I’m here and working hard, I’ve no intention of leaving,” Pires said in quotes reported by The Chronicle. “I am focused on playing for Leganes and on improving as a player and for both me and the team to have a better year than last.”
Therefore, it appears that yet another player linked with Newcastle will not be plying his trade on Tyneside next season. The Mirror reported early in the transfer window that the 23-year-old Brazilian, who joined Juventus in 2011 but never made an appearance, was a target for a number of Premier League clubs.
Newcastle were most heavily linked, while Everton and West Ham were also credited with an interest in Pires, who had a release clause of just £6 million in his contract. Therefore, he would surely have been within budget for a Newcastle side who have struggled to keep up with their big-spending rivals this summer.
And if The Magpies’ opening two Premier League fixtures are anything to go by, his eye for goal and incisive dribbling would have come in handy for a side who failed to find the back of the net in defeats to Tottenham and Huddersfield Town.
Yet, it appears that manager Rafael Benitez will be forced to look elsewhere once again.