Is There Still a Role for Pedro Rodriguez at New-Look Barcelona?

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Is There Still a Role for Pedro Rodriguez at New-Look Barcelona?
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press
There is a role for Pedro but will he accept it?

Pedro Rodriguez must be one of the unluckiest members of the current Barcelona squad.

Forced to accommodate Neymar into the fold last season, Tata Martino had to chop and change his front three and more often than not it was Pedro who was the fall guy.

Martino generally preferred Alexis Sanchez in a front three that also included Lionel Messi but news of the Chilean's impending departure over the course of the World Cup must surely have given Pedro hope that he would now get another solid run in the side.

That was until news of the signing of Luis Suarez came to light.

David Ramos/Getty Images
Pedro has a head start on both Neymar and Luis Suarez, but can he dislodge either from a starting berth?

Only the most optimistic of players would expect to dislodge one of Suarez, Messi and Neymar on a regular basis. It is, on paper, quite simply one of the best strike forces to ever play the game.

Yet Pedro will have a head start over two of the three at least.

With conservative estimates putting Neymar's recovery from injury at late September and Suarez unavailable until a month later, it's fair to assume that Rodriguez has the best part of two months in which to show new manager Luis Enrique what he brings to the team.

Getty Images/Getty Images
Pedro always works hard and rarely lets the team down.

Gerard Deulofeu will be pushing hard for his own starting place but doesn't yet offer as much as Pedro and is likely to be kept in reserve and utilised for Copa del Rey and Champions League games.

Which may be the fate that ultimately befalls Pedro, too.

Unless there are further injuries or indiscretions, then it's highly likely that Enrique will always start with his three main men up front.

There's certainly a role to be played as a squad member, and a valuable one at that. Knowing that Pedro can be relied upon to come in at a moment's notice is a fabulous option open to Enrique.

Indeed, per AS (via ESPN), sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta was quoted as saying that Pedro is "not for sale. He's going to be part of the plans for many years."

But the question mark must be whether Pedro himself will settle for playing second fiddle again. Per Simon Osborn of Metro, Pedro's agent Francois Gallardo made his client's feelings plain at the back end of last season:

"Pedro is very angry this season. The player is in a difficult situation and may be sold."

The difficult situation that Gallardo alluded to was the lack of minutes through the season and despite Zubizaretta's assertion of Pedro's importance, the player may decide that a move abroad would be more beneficial for his immediate career prospects.

At 26 years of age, clearly any purchaser would be buying a Spanish international about to approach his peak years as a footballer.

Whilst talkSPORT note a drop off in form from his 2011 vintage, he still remains a player who is capable of performing at the highest level.

Per WhoScored.com, 16 goals and eight assists from 46 appearances (14 as sub) in all competitions last season isn't a bad return when you consider that he only played a full 90 minutes in 16 of those games.

He is a grafter who will always put in shift whenever he pulls on the shirt. Those types of players are a dying breed in today's game and are worth their weight in gold.

Is there still a role for Pedro at Barca? Absolutely.

Will he accept it? Now there's the million dollar question.

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