Valencia to Hannover 96
It was announced Thursday that Valencia right-back Joao Pereira had completed a free-transfer move to Bundesliga side Hannover 96. Pereira had fallen out of favor under Nuno Espirito Santo at the Spanish club, and had not made a league appearance yet, despite being the undisputed first-choice in the previous two seasons. With departure almost certain this windown, Arsenal had been touted as a possible destination, but Pereira opted for a move to Germany. Pereira’s contract is a short-term, six-month contract.
Fans of the Portuguese game are likely surprised about Joao Pereira’s rather quick fall from grace. After positive performances for Sporting CP, Pereira became the Portuguese National Team’s undisputed starting right-back, a role which he held for about four years. Good performances for Sporting in the Primeira Liga and for the Seleccao in Euro 2012 led to a move to La Liga side Valencia. As mentioned above, Pereira was the team’s starting right-back for his first two seasons, but following the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo at the beginning of this season, Pereira has found game time non-existent. Just one season ago, Pereira was the starting right-back for one of La Liga’s perennial challengers. Now, he can only secure a half-year contract at a mid-table Bundesliga club.
At Hannover, Pereira will compete with Japanese international Hiroki Sakai for the starting right-back position. And what a battle it could be. Much like Pereira at Valencia, Sakai is Hannover’s undisputed starting right-back, already appearing in 17 league matches this season. Time will only tell who will win the starting spot.