By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens

Andreas Pereira is set to miss the start of next season to play in the Rio Olympics in August.

The Manchester United playmaker has been called up for Brazil’s friendlies against Nigeria and South Africa this month, suggesting he is on course to be included in the final squad this summer.

The tournament itself runs from 3 August to 20 August and clashes with the first two Premier League games of the season.

Pereira, who is one of 10 Europe-based Brazil players on the list chosen by coach Rogerio Micale, is likely to be given a month’s holiday after the tournament, meaning he might not be available for United until the end of September.

The 18-man Olympic squads are made up principally of Under-23 players although over-age players are also allowed. Other eligible players currently in the Premier League include Germany international Emre Can of Liverpool.

Other notable Brazil players include Rafael Alcantara of Barcelona and Lazio’s Felipe Anderson, who is a long-term target for United.

Pereira has described the chance to play at Rio 2016 as a “big dream” and recently admitted his concern that his lack of first-team action at Old Trafford could cost him a place in the Olympics squad.

In other Manchester United news, the club stepped up their pursuit of Benfica sensation Renato Sanches by sending a delegation to scout him on Saturday night.