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Joel Pereira signs Manchester United contract: what to expect from him in the future

The impending signing of Romelu Lukaku has drained out every other piece of news in Manchester United media this weekend, completely overshadowing the fact that Joel Pereira penned a new contract to keep him at the club until 2021. Pereira, who has impressed all season and could be the first Academy goalkeeper to understudy at United in quite some time, looks set to feature on United’s pre-season tour in the United States.

Pereira has enjoyed his time at United thus far, and he feels he is making good progress as an up-and-coming goalkeeper. He also enjoys the memories he gets to experience at United, most notably his debut against Wigan in the FA Cup and his home debut in the Premier League against Crystal Palace.

“I have been at United for a number of years now and since the first day here I have enjoyed every minute. Over the last season, I feel I have made great progress as a goalkeeper and this will stand me in good stead for continuing my development as a Manchester United player. There have been many memorable moments for me at this club; however, making my debut for the first team at Old Trafford was unbelievable for me and my family. I want to thank the manager and his coaching team for the help and guidance they have given me and I look forward to playing a part in the squad for many years to come.”

Jose Mourinho seemed just as delighted as Pereira to announce this news, and he maintains that Pereira is a hard-working youth prospect who could go on to be the best Portuguese goalkeeper of the next generation. From arguably the biggest footballing icon in Portugal’s history that isn’t named Cristiano Ronaldo, that comes as massive news.

“Joel progressed really well during the course of the last season through hard work and commitment every day in training. I know I have said this before but I really do believe, if he continues his development and continues to work hard, he really can become the best Portuguese goalkeeper of the next generation. Well done Joel.”

Joel Pereira is an excellent goalkeeper, at 21, in a position where he is primed to continue for most, if not all, of the next two decades. However, at some point, he will begin to question whether or not his chance at Manchester United will come, particularly if De Gea and Sergio Romero continue to lock the first two slots with such excellence.

For this reason, at some point over the next three seasons, I believe Pereira could overtake Romero as United’s second goalkeeper, in a move that will only bode well for United. Pereira and De Gea stand to be long-term solutions in United’s goalkeeper position, and while Romero was superb in last season’s Europa League, there are doubts as to whether he can recreate this form in the Premier League and Champions League, as he isn’t going to develop any further as a goalkeeper while Pereira is a decade away from his prime.

Pereira has excellent shot-stopping ability, confidence in the box and from set-pieces, and the ability to distribute the ball with composure. Debuting in the Premier League has been the kryptonite of some of Europe’s finest goalkeepers this season, with Manchester City’s Claudio Bravo, Liverpool’s Loris Karius, and Crystal Palace’s Steve Mandanda all suffering in their opening campaigns in England. Pereira, however, looked more than composed on his debut, dealing with set-pieces with general ease and stretching himself to make a few good saves.

Tied down until 2021, seemingly a favourite of his manager and compatriot Jose Mourinho, and primed to star on United’s pre-season tour, Pereira seems to only have a bright future ahead after a series of promising academy goalkeepers who are older than him have struggled to impress at Manchester United. It’s going to be tough for him to win David De Gea’s spot, but he’s doing no harm with his performances and commitment at the moment.

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