Friday 30 September 2016

Manchester United now face battle with Manchester City for Barcelona star Pedro

Published 13/08/2015 | 08:15

Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez applauds the supporters after winning the UEFA Super Cup
Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez applauds the supporters after winning the UEFA Super Cup

Manchester United could have a battle on their hands to sign Pedro following reports that bitter rivals City have entered the race for the Barcelona star.

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Pedro's future could be decided over the next 48 hours and United remain firm favourites to activate the £22 million buy-out clause in his contract.

Louis van Gaal wants the 28-year-old as a replacement for Angel di Maria and is believed to have agreed personal terms with his representatives.

However, says The Daily Mail, City's director of football, Txiki Begiristain, who knows the player well from his time at Barca, is understood to be keeping a close eye on negotiations in case their £46 millon move for Kevin de Bruyne stalls.

Fernando Torres claims Pedro has "everything" needed to succeed in the Premier League.

In a huge boost to United, Pedro dropped the biggest hint yet that he will be playing at Old Trafford this season by admitting is would be "a nice challenge".

And former Liverpool and Chelsea striker Torres is certain his Spain international team-mate will be a big hit.

Torres is quoted in The Daily Mirror as saying: "He is a good friend, and if he decides that England is the next step in his career, I am sure he will do very well there.

"He has all the ability you would expect from a player who has been at Barcelona for so many years, but also he has a great work ethic. He works hard, he will help defend, he won't be bullied, he has everything to succeed in The Premier League.

"I think he will find it very hard to leave Barcelona, but I understand as much as anybody how important it is to be playing regularly - especially once you reach a certain age. You need to be at a club where you are playing a lot of football."

Meanwhile, Nicolas Otamendi is VERY close to completing his move to United, according to Valencia-based TV station SillasGol.

The Argentine centre-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for much of the summer, although Sergio Ramos is the preferred target of Van Gaal.

But with Ramos expected to sign a new contract at Real Madrid worth £250,000-a-week - £50,000 more than what United offered if reports in The London Evening Standard are to be believed - rumours the club will turn their attention to alternative options in defence are growing.

SillasGol claims to have seen legal and tax documentation that proves their claim Otamendi is on the verge of a move to the Premier League.

United won't have it all their own way, though, it seems, with City once again proving a thorn in their side.

The Mirror reports that Manuel Pellegrini wants to beat Van Gaal to £35 million-rated Otamendi, once they land De Bruyne.

City are keen to strengthen other areas before turning their attentions to central defence but, we are told, Otamendi is a player they have admired, with the club hopeful of being able to complete a deal this summer.

Former United defender Rafael has blamed Van Gaal's dislike of him as the reason behind his £2.5 million departure to Lyon this summer.

The Brazilian was first-choice right-back under Sir Alex Ferguson but made only six Premier League starts under Van Gaal.

He told The Mail: "I know he didn't like me, but if it's because I'm Brazilian, I do not know. It wasn't just me he didn't like, he also told other players they could leave.

"In 2012-13 I played almost every game. It was my best season in Manchester, and we won the championship. And then the coach changed - that change was fatal to me."

Lazio's Lucas Biglia could reportedly complete a transfer to Manchester United 'within hours' after reaching an agreement to move to Old Trafford.

The Metro claims Van Gaal is a known admirer of the Argentina international, and has spoken to the player's former coach at Anderlecht to determine whether he would be a good fit.

And it appears that Van Gaal has been convinced, with reports in Belgium stating that midfielder Biglia could join imminently after agreeing personal terms with the club.

Lazio and United are yet to agree on a fee, with the Italians holding out for £22 million.

And finally, The Metro believes United are also set to announce the signing of Nicolas Gaitan this week after agreeing a £28 million deal.

Gaitan's agent has apparently flown to England to finalise the transfer. It is thought that any deal for Gaitan is not connected to Pedro - who is also expected to arrive shortly.

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