Andreas Pereira has revealed just how persuasive Fulham head coach Marco Silva was in convincing him to make the move to Craven Cottage last summer.

The Brazilian midfielder has enjoyed a sensational first season with the Whites, who sit ninth in their first campaign back in the Premier League after also reaching the last eight of the FA Cup. Pereira has scored three goals and created six more in 32 games for the Whites – but admitted he faced a dilemma when Fulham’s interest in his services first serviced during his loan at Flamengo.

He told Brazilian outlet UOL over the weekend:

“I was feeling very good with Dorival [Junior, the then head coach of Flamengo]. I would have liked to have continued and finished the year with him. But I arrived at the end of my loan and it became more difficult to negotiate with Manchester United to stay at Flamengo. It was at that time that Marco Silva appeared and showed me the Fulham project.

He called me two or three times. The second time, he said: “Andreas, come here. I need you”. And he explained how he wanted the team to play. It was exactly what I think about football. It was an incredible thing. My heart was divided, because I liked living in Rio, I liked the club, the people, I wanted to end the year, the team was flying … But it was an opportunity to play in the Premier League, the biggest league in the world. It would be a chance to make a comeback in Europe. So I accepted the challenge.”

The Brazilian press have indulged in feverish speculation since Fulham’s FA Cup exit, claiming that Pereira, who has won a single international cap at senior level, will leave the Cottage this summer for a fee of around £35m. But Fulham sources have poured cold water on these claims, pointing to the player’s own statements that he was playing the best football of his career under Silva, and insisting that the former Manchester United playmaker was a crucial part of the club’s future plans.