Andreas Pereira was one of the many bright sparks from United’s pre-season. His composure and diligence on the ball was very much on display as he took to the pitch in Manchester United colours; after a successful loan spell at Granada.
While preseason selection does not count for much; his performances were worthy of praise. Many felt another season of first-team football would be ideal for Andreas’ development, Jose, however, seems to think he’s ready to finally get a run of games as a Manchester United player. Manchester United will be involved in the Champions League this season, and will also have one eye on the domestic cups. This would mean that Jose has to dig deep into his resources and efficiently rotate his squad for getting results.
Let’s analyze where Jose could deploy Andreas in his team, owing to his strengths and weaknesses.
Andreas’ favoured position is just behind the striker. He likes to operate as a free #10 and has the ability to keep the ball moving in midfield. He is known to drop deep and play the long diagonal pass to the wingers and isn’t afraid to have a pop at goal every now and then. His ambidexterity which was on display during the preseason is a useful asset. He can take set pieces with both feet; as a result of which, can be employed as a winger too.
His weaknesses include his frail physique. He can easily be brushed off by an opposition midfielder. Standing at just 5’10, he does not possess the motor skills of a box-to-box midfielder. He can frustrate too, at times. His technical nature often gets the better of him as he embarks on mazy runs and dribbles, failing to look up and spot a teammate in a better position.
Taking this into consideration, and also the rich options that Manchester United possess in attack; the best position for Andreas Pereira will be the inventive midfielder role in the midfield trio.
Pereira can seamlessly fit into a 4-3-3 and can offer a different option for Jose. He can take up the anchor role in midfield, alongside Nemanja Matic.
Matic is the engine in midfield for Manchester United, but the presence of Andreas Pereira can help Matic express himself better. Pereira has been working on his physical stature and was pretty dominant in ball retention in the preseason fixtures. This would mean Pereira can sit back and help Matic in and around the midfield while ensuring good distribution of the ball.
His inclusion could also mean Paul Pogba, who has to a certain extent, been freed by Matic’s arrival, take up a more advanced role. If the first two games are a testament, Paul has proven his effectiveness when employed higher up the pitch; with two goals and an assist to his name.
While it is still unclear about where and how Pereira would fit into the United team; Jose’s reluctance to let go of him speaks volumes about his potential that is there to be harnessed.