Andreas Pereira, just a month ago, was adamant that he wasn’t going on loan again this season.
He enjoyed a superb spell at Granada last season, making 37 appearances in total and coming second only to Dani Ceballos – who later earned a move to Real Madrid – when it comes to most successful dribbles amongst players under 21, in spite of being part of a side destined for relegation.
Then came pre-season with Manchester United. This was his chance to impress Jose Mourinho and he impressed with his tenacity and skill when handed the chance.
And Pereira made it clear that he would build on a productive tour by fighting for his place in the first team over the next few months.
“For me it is going well,” he said.
“I am doing my best, I want to get into the team this season, I want to help my team and hopefully we can achieve a lot this season.”
But doubt looms over just how involved Pereira will be this season. He was used primarily as a midfielder over the summer and lies way down the pecking order with the likes of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan at No.10, looking irreplaceable.
He cannot spend another season on the periphery, plunged in that awkward liminal space of being too good for the reserves but not quite good enough for the first team.
A loan move to Valencia appears to be on the cards. Mourinho initially wanted to keep him in the squad but recent reports claim that he will let the Brazilian move back to La Liga in order to optimise his time on the pitch.
This may not have been what he wanted, but sometimes that contrasts with the right thing, and Valencia serves as a truly golden opportunity. He excelled for a struggling La Liga side last season and now has the chance to join a side moving inexorably in the right direction under new manager Marcelino following a number of tumultuous campaigns.
One thing that stuck out from Valencia’s 2-2 draw with Madrid at the Bernabeu was their work rate: they followed the European champions everywhere, winning the ball back as a unit and breaking with speed and purpose, even with Simone Zaza – who couldn’t get a game at West Ham United last season – leading the line.
Pereira shouldn’t think twice about moving to the Mestalla. This is a club with renewed vigour and belief, bound together by an emphasis on moving the ball quickly and running hard – two things Mourinho will demand of the Brazilian more than anything when he returns next summer.