Villas-Boas: City have talent for a champion debut


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The Independent Online

It is something of a surprise that until this year Gus Poyet was the only Uruguayan footballer to make a real impact in the Premier League. The South American nation may have a small population, similar to Wales at 3.5 million, but traditionally its footballers are physically robust, tactically astute, and expected to travel.

With Uruguay's recent success in the World Cup and Copa America, their invisibility on these shores appears to be changing. Sebastian Coates yesterday joined Luis Suarez at Liverpool and Alvaro Pereira is being pursued by Chelsea.

Andre Villas-Boas yesterday confirmed his old club, Porto, had received a bid for Pereira but said: "We're very far apart in terms of numbers and it'll be very difficult to make it happen, I'm not confident."

Nevertheless, since Chelsea have deep pockets, and Porto's business plan is predicated on developing talent then selling it on, a compromise should be achievable. At 25, with two years in Portugal behind him, Pereira is ripe to be sold and in Alex Sandro, the 20-year-old £8.5m Brazilian left-back, Porto have already signed a replacement.

Villas-Boas was yesterday reluctant to discuss another target, Spurs' Luka Modric, but had no qualms praising Pereira. "He has tremendous influence in the Uruguayan international team as well as Porto. He can play on the inside in midfield, on the left of midfield or at left-back."