Manchester United supporters might be forgiven for welcoming yet another highly rated youth prospect to Old Trafford with a grudging nod. After all, while United’s policy of hoovering up the very finest youth talent, especially creative midfielders, is a prudent one, the here-and-now also matters such is the shambles of the Reds’ central midfield at times in the past two seasons. Yet, another ‘prospect’ it is, with confirmation that Brazilian-born Belgian teenager Andreas Hoelgebaum Pereira will join the club 1 January 2012, the day he turns 16.
Pereira, an attacking playmaker who can be deployed in midfield or as a shadow striker, will join from PSV Jugend, Eindhoven’s academy side, for nominal compensation. The player has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with United.
Starting out at KVSK Lommel in Belgium before moving to PSV aged nine, Pereira has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s finest youth talents. He has been reportedly contacted by most of Europe’s leading clubs and played in the Nike Manchester Premier Cup this summer.
“I am an offensive midfielder, a real 10,” Pereira told De Telegraaf.
“Setting up my team mates, scoring and a good shot are my qualities. PSV knew that I was talking with some clubs and they respected my choice. I had some doubts but at the end Manchester United is my dream team to play for. I have been a few times to Manchester United to have a look. I got a tour and spoke to Sir Alex Ferguson. Being a 15-year-old, to talk with such a man was great.”
The 15-year-old is the son of Marcos Pereira, a retired Brazilian striker who played in Europe for BSC Young Boys, Mechelen, Sint-Truidense and Royal Antwerp. Indeed, Pereira senior appeared alongside Phil Bardsley, Eddie Johnson, Souleymane Mamam and Dong Fangzhuo for Antwerp in the 2003-4 season.
Junior’s team-mate Zakaria Bakkali was recent linked with move to Manchester City, although his signature is equally sought-after. Bakkali won this year’s Manchester United Premier Cup ‘Most Valuable Player’ award. It was a tournament whose final was played at Old Trafford of all places.
Pereira will join a growing Belgian youth international contingent in Manchester, Marnick Vermijl, Charni Ekangamene and Adnan Januzaj at the club. Meanwhile, United has previously raided Holland for Dutch youth winger Gyliano van Velzen, who stared in the Academy’s run to FA Youth Cup victory last season. United have previously signed Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam and Park Ji-sung from PSV Eindhoven.
Here’s some video of Pereira doing stepovers!