Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique has declared his desire to retain the services of want-away attacker, Pedro, at the Camp Nou.
Manchester United are reportedly putting finishing touches to a deal worth around £22 million (€30m) for the 28-year-old attacker, but Enrique insists he doesn’t want his player to leave the European champions. “Pedro is a high-level player and as a coach I want him to stay here, but is his decision,” the former Roma and Celta Vigo boss told reporters on Tuesday.
He dismissed reports that the deal to prize away the striker to the Old Trafford was almost wrapped up. “There will only be exits if someone wants to leave and at the moment we don’t have news about this,” he said.
United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is widely reported to be heading to the Catalunya in an attempt to close a deal, while manager Louis van Gaal admitted recently that Pedro’s qualities are exactly what he needs in his squad.
“Barcelona have the speed of Neymar and [Lionel] Messi — and they have Pedro behind them. We have to compete with that. We can win the title if we can buy players with speed and creativity. We have to improve our selection in that way,” Van Gaal said last week, sparking speculation that once Angel di Maria is sold to PSG, the Spaniard will be on the next flight to Manchester.
Van Gaal’s confidence in landing the talented striker is boosted by the fact that Pedro had enjoyed less playing time under Enrique and would readily jump at offer of playing at top side like Manchester United. He started only 15 league games for Barcelona in 2014-15 after finding himself pushed to the fringes of the first team after Luis Suarez’s arrival from Liverpool.
Luis Enrique stressed in July that any clubs interested in signing Pedro must meet the forward’s £22m release clause, a fee United will gladly dole out once Di Maria completes his switch to the French champions.
By Olisemeka Obeche