15 Jul 2015

Pedro in talks with Barcelona manager Luis Enrique amid Chelsea interest

The Spain forward Pedro will meet the Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique, on Wednesday to discuss his future amid suggestions Chelsea are prepared to trigger the £21.4m buyout clause in his contract at the Camp Nou.

Pedro signed a contract extension through to 2019 in June but admitted earlier this week that Barça had received inquiries as to his availability this summer with Luis Enrique, while hopeful of retaining the player, powerless to stop him leaving if a sufficient bid is received.

The buyout clause had been dramatically lowered in the 27-year-old’s new deal, from £106m to the current figure, which has effectively opened the door to a move.

No final decision will be made until 18 July when Barcelona’s presidential elections will take place with Ramon Adell’s current board now blocked from sanctioning transfers, both incoming and outgoing, from the club.

Other candidates for the presidency had criticised the decision to purchase Arda Turan from Atlético Madrid after Josep Bartomeu, who stood down to prompt new elections, gave the green light for that deal to be concluded.

Pedro, a World Cup and European Championship winner who graduated through Barça’s youth system, will return for pre-season training on Wednesday and have talks with his manager.

There will be further discussion with Joan Laporta if he wins the election later this month, and Eric Abidal if he is confirmed as the Catalans’ new sporting director. The player has found opportunities more limited since Luis Suárez’s purchase from Liverpool a year ago and, while he retains the support of the management, may opt to pursue greater first-team involvement.
“I don’t want anyone to leave but there is a clause,” said Luis Enrique. “We have to respect his decision. I do not deceive anyone and I do not guarantee anyone playing time. It will be his personal decision.”
Pedro has previously admitted he is in “a difficult situation” given a lack of game-time. 
“It’s true that we decided to lower my buyout clause and that there are offers,” he said. “I’m in a difficult situation at Barcelona, but I don’t want to reveal anything.

“All I’m interested in is getting down to work on Wednesday with my team-mates and then we’ll see. You want more game-time, more chances and to be first-choice. I know that being at Barça is like nowhere else. I’ve won lots of titles and that fills me with satisfaction and joy, but you have that ambition to continue improving and to play.”
Chelsea, who will play Barcelona in Washington DC on 29 July, have added Radamel Falcao and Asmir Begovic to their ranks so far this summer, the latter replacing the departed Petr Cech.

Their first-team squad report to Cobham on Wednesday before a flight to Montreal, where they will be based for pre-season games in the United States against New York Red Bulls, Paris Saint-Germain and Barça.

The club’s players from the summer’s Copa América – Falcao, Juan Cuadrado, Filipe Luis and Willian – in Chile will link up with the team in Canada next week. At present, both Mikel John Obi and Loïc Rémy, who have attracted interest from rival clubs this summer, are expected to travel.

Credit: Guardian Sport

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