Sam Allardyce is convinced Matheus Pereira can become a “top-class Premier League player” as Aston Villa show an interest in the West Bromwich Albion ace, speaking to the Birmingham Mail.
The Baggies may not be a Premier League team next season – Keinan Davis’ last-gasp leveller put paid to any hopes of a sequel to 2005’s ‘Great Escape’ – but that doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of this brilliant Brazilian in the top flight.
Pereira was the driving force behind West Brom’s short-lived revival, terrorising Chelsea’s usually watertight back line during that famous 5-2 win at Stamford Bridge, scoring or assisting all but one of West Brom’s goals that day.
The former Sporting Lisbon youngster dazzled in the 3-0 thrashing of Southampton too, taking his tally to nine goals and five assists for the season.
And, according to The Athletic, Aston Villa were struck by Pereira’s performance during Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Villa Park. So much so that, when the transfer window opens, they could try to buy him.
“I have worked with some world-class players in my time. I can’t say Matheus is world class but he certainly has the potential to be a top-class Premier League player if he continues developing,” Allardyce says of his £9 million playmaker.
“He is still young. I think when he is committed and when he works as hard as he did against Aston Villa, when he shows that ability, then he’s certainly a big difference and a big-game player for West Brom.
“He will produce more performances of that quality as he gets more and more mature. He has shown some top-quality skills and, if that development continues, he can become a top-class player because he’s still very young.”
Interestingly, Pereira isn’t the only talented attacking midfielder linked with an Aston Villa side keen to ease the creative burden on captain Jack Grealish.
Norwich City duo Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell are also targets – much to the delight of former Villa hero Emile Heskey.