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West Bromwich Albion will face a challenge holding onto Matheus Pereira, with Premier League rivals Aston Villa keen on the Brazilian, Baggies boss Sam Allardyce told The Mirror. 

While West Brom will not be a top-flight team next season – a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday put pay to any hopes of a repeat of 2005’s Great Escape – it seems unlikely that Pereira will be sticking around for Tuesday night trips to Luton and Preston. 

The former Sporting Lisbon schemer has stood head-and-shoulders above the rest in recent weeks, inspiring the 5-2 thrashing of Chelsea before scoring his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign with a stunning individual effort at the Emirates.  

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Rousing the Kop (Youtube)

The Athletic reports that Aston Villa would be tempted to raid their Midland neighbours for Pereira should the opportunity arise, with the ongoing absence of Jack Grealish exposing the lack of real cutting edge in Dean Smith’s squad. 

And Allardyce admits that, if West Brom do manage to retain the services of their fleet-footed play-maker, they will have pulled off something of a minor miracle. 

“Probably not,” the one-time (literally) England boss said when asked if the Baggies could keep hold of Pereira. “I hope I am not speaking out of turn. 

“It is not my responsibility or my decision. I’d have a say in it perhaps. 

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“But I think in the position the club is in, they will find it very difficult if the right offer comes in to keep a player of his quality.” 

Pereira forced his way onto Aston Villa’s summer wishlist following an eye-catching display in front of the Holte End at the end of April.

And the ex-Nurnburg loanee – who was compared to Mo Salah during his time in the Bundesliga – only enhanced his reputation among Villa supporters with another display full of creativity, speed and skill away at Arsenal. 

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