Pedro Can Be Barcelona's Surprise Catalyst This Season

Jason PettigroveContributor IAugust 4, 2013

Amidst the fanfare of Neymar's arrival at Barcelona, the potential contribution of other players has been largely overlooked this summer.

Whilst there is little doubt that the Brazilian's role will need to evolve to become as pivotal as that of Lionel Messi, the supplementary form of a number of other players will dictate much of Barca's success this coming season.

Pedro Rodriguez is a player who, on his day, has much to offer.

Although there have been question marks over his form and contribution at certain stages in the past, his importance to both the Spanish national team and Barcelona is self-evident when the player is on his game.

If we are to assume that "Tata" Martino will play Neymar in his favoured left-sided position and Messi centrally, then the new manager will have to decide from the luxury of embarrassing riches at his disposal for the right side of a front three.

Both Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello will lay claim to a starting berth, but it is Pedro who deserves the chance to make the position his own.

Aside from offering exceptional speed per Tello, his work ethic is akin to that of Sanchez—a hybrid of the two if you will.

If we take a look at the stats, per, it's Pedro who comes out on top.

In possession of the ball, Pedro's score of 275 is comfortably better than the 99 of Tello and the minus-218 score of Sanchez.

His distribution is also superior to that of his colleagues—90 percent is top-end passing accuracy and exactly the same as the much more celebrated Andres Iniesta. 

In an attack containing Messi, it would perhaps be a surprise to many that Pedro's accuracy is better than the Argentine's.

He was never better than against Real Madrid where he was as effective in a defensive role as he was going forward.

Only Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets outscore Pedro in this respect over the course of the season, with Tello's 85 percent marginally better than Sanchez's 80 percent.

From a defensive perspective, Tello falls well behind with just eight defensive actions throughout last season compared to that of Pedro (17) and Sanchez (18).

Strikers are paid to score goals. Therefore, Pedro's 1-4 ratio (seven goals in 28 games) is disappointing, yet Tello's seven in 22 matches and Sanchez's eight in 29 show that neither fares much better.

Overall, a performance score of 994 puts the man from Santa Cruz de Tenerife in a league of his ownTello (742) and Sanchez (628) are a fair distance behind.

Aside from a little more consistency at club level, there is little that one can reproach the Spaniard for.

Even if Martino should decide to change things in an attacking sense, Pedro has the ability to move seamlessly across the front three.

His superior movement, pace and directness sees him undertake a false nine role as effectively as he patrols either flank.

In short, Pedro offers Barcelona versatility, creativity and a spark that can ignite the Barcelona attack this season.