When all of the elite clubs in England are chasing after a player, they must have something pretty special in their locker.
Step forward Barcelona forward Pedro, who is now not only a target for Liverpool and Arsenal, but also Chelsea and Manchester United, all of whom have been linked with triggering his release clause that stands at £22 million. Small change in the modern game of football and absolute peanuts when you consider the money players like Raheem Sterling and Gareth Bale cost.
Now that’s not to say Pedro is as good as Bale, although he certainly had a better season than the man from Madrid, and he is significantly older than Sterling, but the Spanish winger is something special alright. Tricky, pacey, comfortable on the ball and clinical with both his finishing and through balls, Pedro is just what you’d expect from a player who came through the Barcelona youth set up and managed to break into the first team.
He is concerned – as you would be – about struggling for game time at the Camp Nou next season and with the formidable trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez, or the MSN as they’ve been dubbed, ending the season with a flourish, you can see why Pedro is panicking. Good enough to walk into most first teams, he would be little more than a benchwarmer for Luis Enrique’s side, and with the arrival of Arda Turan, his playing time decreases further.
Barcelona are having a better transfer window than most clubs, ironic really considering they’re supposed to be serving a ban, and while they can’t actually let their new recruits take to the field until January when the ban ends, they can sign them.
Ideally, Barca would like to keep Pedro, but manager Luis Enrique has claimed that should Pedro ask to leave, the club will allow him to providing the release clause in his contract is met, and given the sheer amount of top clubs who are seriously interested in him, that does not look like being a problem.
Having initially been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool in an almost Karim Benzema like frequency, it seems the bigger big boys have also been casting a couple of glances at Pedro’s YouTube reel and want him.
United seem to be buying just about everyone, and should they actually sell Angel Di Maria, you can see how Pedro would be an ideal replacement in the eyes of Louis van Gaal- not to mention the fact that United would be selling Di Maria for over £40 million and only having to shell out half of that to bring Pedro to the club.
Chelsea meanwhile are seemingly planning on going the season with three forwards, one of whom gets injured almost as much as Abou Diaby does, another who is a third rate choice and often fell behind 37 year old Didier Drogba in the pecking order last season – not to mention having fitness issues of his own, and the man who needs no introduction for all the wrong reasons, Radamel Falcao.
That either means Jose Mourinho is planning on relying heavily on Eden Hazard yet again as the Blues look to not only retain their domestic crowns in the league and league cup, but also improve in Europe as well, or that he will bring in another winger who can also chip in with goals.
Step forward Pedro, who can function either as an out and out forward or a winger, and is just as hard working as someone like Willian, but is far, far more clinical. While some Barcelona players both past and present have been guilty of ball watching when the chips are down, and failing to track back altogether at times, Pedro has a work-rate even Jose Mourinho would struggle to find fault with.
Having netted 58 goals in 204 appearances for the Barcelona senior side after coming through the ranks at the club, he is not a goal a game man, but the 27 year old can find the back of the net, and usually on the big occasions. His record for Spain is even better, with 16 goals coming in 51 games.
Chelsea might be the champions, but they have deadwood in their squad, with players like Juan Cuadrado and Mo Salah simply not good enough, and Oscar fighting for his future. Last season proved beyond a doubt that Mourinho only feels eleven of his players are really special and can be trusted, with the rest dispensable if a better option comes along. More so than any other side in England, Chelsea have such a settled first eleven, so you could forgive Pedro for worrying if he would just be trading the bench at the Camp Nou for that at Stamford Bridge, which let’s be honest, is a far less impressive stadium.
However, as most Chelsea fans will tell you, shifting Willian to the number ten role or letting Hazard play there and allowing Pedro to play on the wing or even as the man behind Diego Costa, while dropping Oscar, would probably be the ideal scenario. This summer, Mourinho and Chelsea haven’t made the big moves we’ve become accustomed to from the club, but to land Pedro would really say something – and make them so much stronger creatively next term.
With the amount of interest in Pedro however, most Chelsea fans will be hoping Cesc Fabregas can offer them an assist before the season starts and persuade his old teammate that swapping the Camp Nou for the Bridge is the way forward.