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Chelsea Finally Ends Pedro’s Transfer Speculations

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Chelsea has finally put to an end Pedro’s transfer speculations following Thursday’s £21.1m agreement with both club and player.Pedro chose Chelsea after reportedly being close to an agreement over a move to Manchester United.

José Mourinho has been granted his wish of a grand statement signing, with Chelsea confirming on Thursday afternoon they had completed the capture of Pedro from Barcelona in a deal worth £21.1m.

Mourinho has spoken about why Chelsea have made a slow start to their defence of the Premier League title and claimed one of the reasons has been their inability to fire the starting XI with fresh blood.

Last summer, Mourinho oversaw the early signings of Diego Costa, Cesc Fàbregas and Thibaut Courtois and he watched his team make a flying start. This time, despite his wish to strike deals with similar haste, it has been more difficult, with only Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao arriving before the opening game. Both players are considered as back-ups.

Chelsea lost the Community Shield to Arsenal and have only one point from two league fixtures. Meanwhile they have seen their rivals make serious inroads on the summer transfer market.

Baba Rahman, though, joined them on Wednesday from Augsburg for £21.7m and Pedro represents a major lift. The 28-year-old Spain winger won a glut of silverware at Barcelona – including five La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues – and he is also a world and European champion with Spain.

Manchester United had been interested in him and the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, travelled to Barcelona earlier in the week for negotiations. The United manager, Louis van Gaal, however, was never 100% sold on Pedro and his dallying allowed Chelsea to close the deal with a decisive push.

Chelsea have long been interested in Pedro and Mourinho considered a move for him last January, only to look elsewhere because the player was cup-tied in the Champions League. He took Juan Cuadrado, instead, from Fiorentina for £23m, although the Colombian did not feature in the Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain a month later.

Cuadrado has been a disappointment at Chelsea and Pedro’s arrival has implications for him. Cuadrado is effectively for sale and the recriminations over who is to blame for his signing have begun, with the club’s technical director, Michael Emenalo, feeling the heat.

Chelsea appear to have benefited from United’s interest in Pedro, in that they could see Barcelona were willing to negotiate over his £21.1m buyout clause. Chelsea’s successful offer was of £19m, with the remainder due in add-ons, Barcelona have confirmed. United’s bid contained a higher proportion of add-ons.

Chelsea’s signing of Pedro has echoes of their £32m move for Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013. The Brazil forward was on the verge of joining Tottenham Hotspur before Chelsea nipped in at the last minute. Willian stands to be switched inside from the right to accommodate Pedro.

Fàbregas, Pedro’s international and former Barcelona team-mate, also got in touch with him to sell the merits of Stamford Bridge and the Chelsea director, Marina Granovskaia, oversaw the successful offer on Tuesday. Pedro flew into London on Wednesday and has now completed all of his medical checks. He has signed a four-year contract.

Pedro said: “I am very excited to start my adventure at Chelsea and I am here to keep winning titles. Thanks to the club and the supporters for giving me the opportunity to put the blue shirt on.”

Tongai Mwenje

Tongai Mwenje is a Senior Editor with Zimbabwe's largest online sports magazine Sportbrief www.sportbrief.co.zw. He has been writing professionally since 2012 and currently writes for technology and sport blogs. He has vast experience in digital marketing, sports reporting and analysis. He is also a Sports and Technology columnist with Financial Gazette Online Sports Column and Technology Magazine respectively.

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