Arrival of Pedro a timely boost for Mourinho and Chelsea

Proven ex-Barcelona star will add hugely to champions’ attacking options

José Mourinho has been granted his wish of a grand statement signing, with Chelsea confirming yesterday afternoon they had completed the capture of Pedro from Barcelona in a deal worth €29.5 million.

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.

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 €30 million and Pedro represents a major coup.

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 Cup and European champion with Spain.


Decisive push

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 per cent 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, although the Colombian did not feature in the Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain a month later.

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.

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 €29.4 million buyout clause. Chelsea’s successful offer was of €26.5 million, 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 €44 million 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. 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.”

Major signing


Manuel Pellegrini

has acclaimed

Nicolas Otamendi

as “the best defender in La Liga last season” after making the Argentina international their fourth major signing of the summer.

Otamendi has agreed a five-year contract in a deal that will be worth in the region of €47 million and has been structured to help the Valencia compensate for the fact they still owed City a significant proportion of the fee for Alvaro Negredo’s transfer last year.

Pellegrini said: “Nicolas Otamendi was arguably the best defender in La Liga last season and so naturally I’m delighted to have added a player of his quality. He is an established international for one of the best nations in world football and I have no doubt that he has the right mentality to fit into a squad where he will find many familiar faces, including Eliaquim and Fernando who he played alongside in Portugal.

“As a footballer, Nicolas has all of the qualities to be a success in the Premier League – he’s strong, he’s excellent in the tackle and he’s very good technically.” Guardian Service