Chelsea signs forward Pedro from Barcelona in $33m deal

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 21, 2015 06:37 PM
Chelsea signs forward Pedro from Barcelona in $33m deal
FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2015 file photo, Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez, celebrates after scoring during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Elche and Barcelona, at the Martinez Valero stadium in Elche, Spain. (AP Photo/Fernando Bustamante, File)

ROB HARRIS, AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) — While Chelsea awaits a first win on the field this season, the Premier League champions scored a satisfying victory in the transfer market on Thursday by beating Manchester United to the signing of Pedro Rodriguez from Barcelona.

A fee worth 30 million euros ($33 million) was agreed to bring the 28-year-old forward to Chelsea, with 3 million euros dependent on his performances, Barcelona said.

The high-profile recruitment of a player who has won every major honor shifts the narrative at Chelsea following an unruly start to the season, particularly as it left United reassessing its transfer targets.

Chelsea is enduring its worst start to a season for 17 years, going back before Roman Abramovich transformed the club's fortunes with the injection of cash following his 2003 takeover.

Chelsea lost the Community Shield to Arsenal and followed this by collecting one point from its opening two league games while Jose Mourinho became embroiled in a public row with his medical staff.

Pedro's arrival bolsters Mourinho's attacking options, with Chelsea's statement on Thursday highlighting the Spaniard's versatility by being able to play as a winger or center forward.

Chelsea's first-choice striker Diego Costa has been troubled by hamstring problems, while backup Radamel Falcao is yet to prove himself in the Premier League after a disappointing stint at Manchester United last season. Neither has scored this season.

Chelsea has also been addressing its deficiencies in defense by signing left back Baba Rahman from Augsburg on Sunday and pursuing Everton center back John Stones.

Abramovich could look to recoup some transfer funds before the window closes on Sept. 1.

The signing of Pedro puts the future of Colombia winger Juan Cuadrado in doubt only seven months after joining for 33 million euros (then $37 million) from Fiorentina. Another winger, Victor Moses, could also be on the way out after failing to settle in his three years at Chelsea and spending most of the time on loan away from Stamford Bridge.

Pedro won 20 trophies with Barcelona, where he has spent his entire professional career until now. He is also a World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain.

"I am very excited to start my adventure at Chelsea and I am here to keep winning titles," said Pedro, who trained with his new teammates on Thursday ahead of Sunday's match at West Bromwich Albion.

Pedro's last goal for Barcelona secured the UEFA Super Cup in extra time earlier this month after coming off the bench — a substitute's role which frustrated the player. He has also won the Spanish league and cup double, and Champions League in 2015.

Selling Pedro does represent a risky move for Barcelona, given its inability to replace him until January due to a transfer ban for 2015 as punishment for breaking FIFA rules on the signing of underage players.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu thanked the departing player on Twitter, writing: "Gracies Pedro for having directly contributed to the club's triumphs. Pedro, you are part of the Barca legend."

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