Why spending £21.8m on this Portuguese ace could help Leicester maintain top-10 status in Premier League

According to reports, Leicester City agreed on a £21.8m deal to sign Porto wing-back Ricardo Pereira. The Foxes will pay £17.5m initially and £4.3m as add-ons.

Pereira has garnered a lot of interest from the Premier League clubs but Leicester have left everyone behind in his pursuit. The 24-year old reportedly wants his future resolved before joining up with Portugal’s World Cup squad.

With the Foxes on the brink in sealing a deal for Pereira, what would the Porto full-back offer at the King Power Stadium?

First and foremost, Leicester are very thin on options at right-back, with Danny Simpson the only one in their ranks. Simpson has established himself as the first-choice right-back at Leicester but lack of depth in that position means the Foxes desperately need to address it ahead of next season.

While Simpson has been regular on the right-hand side of the defence, Claude Puel has also used Daniel Amartey in that position at times, with the Ghanian failing to perform. This clearly suggests that the Foxes need to prioritise signing a right-back and Ricardo Pereira would be a wise addition.

Ricardo Pereira

Pereira will challenge Simpson for the right-back place in Puel’s team. Be it for the position of right-back or right-wing, Pereira is an unstoppable presence on the right, with his pace and movement on and off the ball causing mayhem in Ligue 1.

It looked as if Pereira’s career had stagnated following his move to Porto from Vitoria Guimaraes. However, since joining OGC Nice on loan in 2015, the Portuguese has been revitalised.

Under Puel, who was Nice’s manager then, Pereira started to blossom at the left-back position. He had not played regularly at Porto for two seasons but his transition into the Nice starting line-up was very quick and unified.

Nice finished 4th that season and while it looked a tall order for them to replicate that form due to the loss of star players in the summer, the Eaglets outperformed themselves last season under Lucian Favre, reaching the Champions League.

After a productive two-year loan spell at Allianz Riviera, Pereira returned back to Porto and became a key figure in their title success this season. The versatile player contributed 2 goals and 4 assists as Porto successfully ended Benfica’s dominance in Portugal.

Gifted with blistering pace and dribbling ability, Pereira combines these traits with smart decision-making and energy, which allows him to be a constant threat down the flanks.

He trusts his attacking instincts so much so that at times he simply becomes unstoppable. Capable of also playing as a winger on either flank, Pereira has brought a touch of unpredictability to his game this season.

Apart from having a lot of attacking attributes, he is defensively solid and composed. In a nutshell, Pereira possesses all the qualities needed for a modern full-back.

He is one of the finest talents in Portuguese football and he would be a shrewd acquisition for Leicester City. He could even help the foxes maintain their top-10 position next season.

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