Manchester United have opened talks with Barcelona for the transfer of Pedro Rodriguez, reported Sergi Font of Marca.
Vitally, Font indicated the Spanish forward has told coach Luis Enrique and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu "of his desire to move to United." The two sides meet each other during their respective pre-season tours of America on Saturday, with United boss Louis van Gaal potentially taking advantage of the forced contact to see a deal through.
United may have to contend with the loss of winger Angel Di Maria after France Football (h/t Marca) reported the club have accepted a €65 million (approx. £45.5 million) offer from Paris Saint-Germain for his services.
Matt Smith of talkSPORT expects a quality replacement:
Bartomeu made it clear he doesn't expect Barca to add to the signings of Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan, but also Enrique doesn't want to lose anyone from his current selection, per Iain Rogers of Reuters (h/t Daily Mail): "We have a complete and balanced squad and Luis Enrique is happy with the players he has. We need all the players because this season the team has a chance of winning all the competitions we are playing in."
Pedro is an experienced player who is undervalued at Barca. The 27-year-old faces another spell of rotation if he remains in Catalonia; not the greatest preparation ahead of Spain's defence of their European Championship crown.
He remained productive last season, scoring six and assisting six despite making just 15 starts and 20 substitute appearances in La Liga, per WhoScored.com. In 2013-14, Pedro netted 15 and set up eight in 28 starts and nine matches from the bench. His versatility makes him an extremely valuable member of Barca's squad, but he is capable of far more elsewhere.
Van Gaal is expected to deploy Rooney up front in a 4-3-3 formation, with two wingers bursting off the Englishman's industrious work down the middle. If Di Maria leaves, new signing Memphis Depay can be expected to take one of these spots. Pedro would be an excellent fit for the opposite flank.
B/R UK's Andy Brassell recently discussed his thoughts on the Spaniard possibly replacing Di Maria:
Font's report makes it clear Pedro is no longer willing to be the fall guy in a ridiculously talented Barca squad. With his pace, technical skill and finishing quality he could become a key figure at United, a team he netted against in the 2011 Champions League final.
Van Gaal is eyeing a quick injection of quality to help secure trophies across his three-year contract. Last season's fourth-place finish was more than respectable, but it's the addition of players such as Pedro that will define his long-term prospects in the United role.