Former England striker Emile Heskey has urged Aston Villa to try and sign West Brom winger Matheus Pereira before he is snapped up by another club.
Pereira, 25, was one of the shining lights in an otherwise dismal campaign for the Baggies that ended in relegation. Sam Allardyce was unable to work his magic and Albion plunged into the Championship after one season in the top flight. The vultures will now start to circle over the Hawthorns, with clubs looking to pick the bones of a relegated squad.
Some will stay and fight for the cause but it is inevitable that the high-profile players will be under pressure to leave. Pereira falls into that category after netting 11 goals and assisting six during a turbulent season.
He arrived on an initial season-long loan in the summer of 2019 and that became permanent the following year. The former Sporting ace tried his best to keep Albion up, with six goals in his last eight games.
But the damage had already been done and the West Midlanders are now looking for a new manager. Whether the next boss will have Pereira at his disposal only time will tell.
Heskey feels he will have plenty of suitors after the way he has performed. And the former Villa striker believes he would flourish under Dean Smith.
“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,” he told HITC.
“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.”
Pereira on Villa radar
A report by The Athletic claims that Pereira is one of the names on sporting director Johan Lange’s wish-list. They will need to act early, as other clubs are bound to show interest.
The Brazilian has proved that he can cut the mustard in the Premier League in an ordinary team. And there may be those higher up the standings who fancy a punt on the South American.
The Baggies paid Sporting £8.25m for his services a year ago. But, under contract until 2024, he is likely to fetch considerably more this time around.