Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ‘top quality player’ on verge of Man Utd exit
The former Manchester United boss held high hopes for Belgian-born winger Andreas Pereira but he never truly managed to make the grade at Old Trafford and now looks set to leave
One of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s final press conferences at Manchester United saw him insist that there remains a “top quality player” in Andreas Pereira who he would welcome back to Old Trafford following his loan.
The attacking midfielder spent last season on loan with Brazilian outfit Flamengo, where by all accounts he impressed and showed flashes of the kind of player United expected they were getting when they introduced him to the senior-set-up in 2014 after three years in the club’s academy.
In truth, Pereira always struggled to nail down a consistent starting spot while at United and spent plenty of time away from the club on various different loan spells, where he also flattered to deceive whether it be in La Liga with Granada or Serie A with Lazio.
Despite this, Solskjaer was always notably positive about Pereira’s hopes of cementing a place in the United first-team one day. It does not look like the Norwegian’s ambition will be realised long after he has left the club, as Pereira now looks set to follow him out of the exit door.
According to UOL Esporte, newly-promoted Premier League outfit Fulham have reached an agreement to sign Pereira on a permanent basis for a fee of £10m. The deal could rise as high as £13m if certain add-ons are met.
While Fulham are of course a respected top-flight outfit, it marks a steep decline from what was originally expected of the 26-year-old. At the tail-end of last year, Solskjaer insisted the plan was to reintegrate Pereira into the United first-team.
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“Yes we follow Andreas, of course we do,’ Solskjaer told TNT Sports. He’s a very good player, fantastic person. And I’m so happy for him that he’s enjoying it over there. Because for us, it was the point… ‘Andreas, now you go and show how good you are’.
“I couldn’t give him enough playing time and we know the quality in him. When he has the trust and belief, he’s top quality, so I’m happy for him. Last year, Andreas went on loan, he didn’t play enough. The season before, he played a lot for us, but then we signed Bruno [Fernandes]. And I’m happy for him now and I’ll see him soon.”
Pressed on whether he’d like Pereira to return, Solskjaer added: “Of course. When he keeps on playing like he can do, at his best level, he’s a top player.”
Fulham fans will now read that assessment with plenty of excitement, though the Cottagers will still have to agree personal terms with the winger. If and when the deal is finalised, it will mark the end of an underwhelming 11-year spell on the books at United.