Emile Heskey thinks Newcastle United should consider a move for Matheus Pereira with Aston Villa another potential destination for the West Brom play-maker, speaking exclusively to HITC.
The Baggies will be desperate to keep their most talented players at The Hawthorns as they prepare for another season of Championship football.
But even the most rose-tinted of West Bromwich Albion supporters surely won’t be expecting to see Pereira strut his stuff on a cold Tuesday night at Kenilworth Road next term.
The defence-splitting Brazilian looked a cut above most in the second tier during 2019/20 and, after belatedly proving his worth in the Premier League, you would imagine that Pereira will be leading any exodus out of The Hawthorns when the transfer window opens.
According to The Athletic, Aston Villa are interested in snapping up a set-piece specialist who could ease the club’s overreliance on captain marvel Jack Grealish – and Pereira already has the backing of the Holte End faithful.
Yet Heskey believes there is another Premier League club who could do with a number ten capable of hitting double figures in both goals and assists; especially with the departure of the record-breaking Joe Willock set to leave a massive hole in Steve Bruce’s attack.
“I think he’s done fantastic. I think he would suit the way Aston Villa play because he’s very much a counter-attacking kind of football player. Another team, I don’t know if they’d go for him, someone like Newcastle,” Heskey says.
“If Allan Saint-Maximin leaves, cause I know a lot of people are looking at him, they’ll need someone who can replace him. It’s a nice fit there (at Newcastle).
“From tenth-place down, I’m sure Pereira will have plenty of suitors because, in the second half of the season, he just kicked on and produced some really, really good football.”
Grealish was expected to spend the summer living rent-free in the gossip columns but another high-profile transfer saga is hogging the headlines for the time being, drawing the attention away from Aston Villa’s number ten.
If Manchesters United and City are determined to land the £150 million-rated Harry Kane, does that mean Grealish will be staying for another year at his boyhood club?
“You’re talking about £80 million for Jack and over £100 million (for Kane). But £100 million is a lot! What are you going to get out of him? Four good years? When you can get (Erling) Haaland.
“I think Aston Villa know they rely heavily on Jack. That’s why the give him the ball. When you look at the stats of who the majority (of their players) pass to, it’s Jack. So you can’t say that it’s not a one-man team.
“This is not a bad thing! But this is the way player’s think when they’re on the pitch: Give it to Jack and let him do his thing.”
Bringing in Pereira would, in theory, ease the burden of expectation on Villa’s talisman.