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Thursday 22 March 2018

Five reasons why Chelsea were desperate to beat Manchester United to sign Pedro


Tom Edwards

The Spanish winger was one of the most in-demand players of the transfer window - but who is he, and why did everyone want him so much?

1. He plays for Barcelona...

Simple, perhaps, but let's face it - even their average players are better than most teams' good ones. Pedro may not eclipse Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr, but line him up next to Loic Remy and Juan Cuadrado and he starts to look a bit different.

Lionel Messi is congratulated by Luis Suarez after scoring his second goal

2. ...but could be persuaded to leave

He averaged about 50 apps for Barcelona per season in all competitions, but many of them are as a sub. He usually scored at least 10 goals, too. It wasn't the number of games that were necessarily the problem for the 27-year-old, it's the minutes. He was definitely good enough to play, but the glittering talent at Barca's disposal meant he didn't get to start.


3. He's a wide forward who can also play through the middle

Versatile forwards are very much in demand. Louis van Gaal, in particular, was keen to strengthen with this type of player. He had hinted at a mystery forward and said they wouldn't necessarily be an out-and-out striker. Pedro was that man, but Van Gaal came up against someone who needed more firepower even more badly. Jose Mourinho has been underwhelmed by his side's start to the season, and their lack of activity in the transfer market this summer, but Pedro solves both problems at a stroke.

SOCCER Champ_5.jpg
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

4. His character is strong - and he's no troublemaker

Pedro is keen to step out of the shadow of his superstar teammates and become a big name himself, much like Alexis Sanchez did when he moved to Arsenal.

But that doesn't mean he has a galactico-sized ego. For someone of his calibre to be prepared to stay on the bench for as long as he did at Barca suggests he is (a) quite selfless, and (b) he will not be one of those superstars who demands a place in the side every week, regardless of form or fitness.

5. He's a proven winner

Granted, he obviously plays in an exceptional team but nonetheless, Pedro's trophy cabinet is absolutely heaving. He played a small part in Barca's legendary treble-winning team of 2008/09 and has gone from strength to strength since.

His haul includes five La Ligas, three Copa del Reys and three Champions Leagues, so the 'winning habit' managers love to talk about is clearly there in abundance.

Pedro kisses the UEFA Cup trophy as Barcelona celebrate victory

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