How quickly things change in football. On Tuesday morning, Barcelona winger Pedro was edging steadily closer toward a move to Manchester United that has been agonizingly drawn out in the press for most of the summer. Twenty-four hours later and the want-away forward is apparently on the verge of signing with Chelsea instead.
According to reports coming out of England and Spain, Jose Mourinho’s team will complete the signing of the 28-year-old within the next 24 hours. Chelsea and Barça struck the deal late on Tuesday night, only days after Man U vice-chairman Ed Woodward had flown to Spain to discuss terms with the player and the Catalan club. However, United apparently never officially moved to trigger the €30m buy-out clause in Pedro’s contract, but Chelsea did, and according to MARCA, have signed him for €28m up front with €2m in add-ons, beating out Man United’s initial offer of €25M up front.
Pedro has already apparently arrived in London to undergo his medical.
The outcomes of the opening two rounds of the Premier League undoubtedly influenced how the deal evolved: While Manchester United won both their opening matches with relative ease, champions Chelsea have yet to get a win this season and have just one point from two matches.
A dispiriting 3-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City on the weekend exposed the true folly of Chelsea’s inactivity on the transfer market this summer. Picked by most pundits as favorites to retain the title, Chelsea have been woefully lackluster in the first two matches.
As they were last season, Mourinho’s Blues seem overly dependent on Diego Costa for goals. After enduring their worst start to a season since 1998, the powers that be at Stanford Bridge apparently deemed it necessary to bring in attacking reinforcements. Pedro, a World Cup, La Liga, European Championship, and multiple Champions League winner, fits that bill nicely. Pacey and direct, with an excellent finishing touch, he nonetheless found himself frozen out behind Barça’s preferred starting trio of Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Luis Suarez.
A product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, Pedro has scored 99 goals in 326 appearances for the club. While he had indeed been close to joining United, conversations with his former Barça teammates Cesc Fabregas and Victor Valdez apparently swayed him towards joining Chelsea instead.