Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez is reportedly ready to leave the club at the end of the season, with Valencia and Villarreal said to be interested in the Spain international.
The former Barcelona man hasn’t found his best form since moving to English football last summer and was substituted for the third consecutive match during Chelsea’s last outing, a 3-3 draw with Everton.
According to David Woods of the Daily Star, they are now willing to cash in Pedro on at the end of the campaign with the player said to "looking for a way out of Chelsea," although manager Guus Hiddink does not want to lose him in January.
Pedro arrived at Stamford Bridge with a tremendous reputation after years of success at Barcelona. Here is why Chelsea were so excited about his capture:
The winger has struggled to come to terms with the English game, though. Despite his willingness to track back, direct running style and nose for goals, he’s netted a meagre two Premier League goals in 18 appearances, as well as two assists.
Given Chelsea parted with £21 million to land him, that’s a disappointing return. Granted, plenty of players from overseas often find it difficult to immediately settle into a new culture both on and off the pitch. But at 28, Pedro is in the peak years of his career and will want to be playing to the best of his ability.
Amadi Tidiane Thiam of World Soccer Talk is struggling to see what Pedro offers this Chelsea side:
Hiddink starts Pedro for second straight match suggesting he sees something in training that impresses & convinces him. Wish I could see it.— amadí tídíane thiam (@amadoit) January 16, 2016
A move back to Spain may well appeal to the forward. In La Liga Pedro proved he can thrive, is better acquainted with the lifestyle and suited to the style of football typically played. Hiddink, as is evident by the fact he’s started Chelsea's last two league games, seems keen on giving the World Cup winner a chance, though.
A sale would leave Chelsea short in attacking options, which is an area in which they are struggling for numbers as is. Alexandre Pato is a player who has been strongly linked with the Blues, but according to Woods, there is some way to go before any deal gets over the line.
“The Blues are involved in lengthy negotiations with Corinthians for striker Pato,” Woods wrote. “But contrary to reports, the 26-year-old striker has not agreed terms. Corinthians are understood to want £12 million for Pato—what they paid Milan for him three years ago—but they could be prepared to drop that to to around £10 million.”
Despite these claims, it’s a transfer Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones thinks will eventually go through:
Pato has rekindled his career in Brazil after leaving Milan in 2013, excelling on loan with Sao Paulo last season. The talent is definitely there for him to succeed in the Premier League, but as Pedro has found out to his peril, English football can be unforgiving during a period of adaptation.
Still, beIN Sports’ Matteo Bonetti thinks that despite his perennial issues with injuries, in Pato, Chelsea could be getting a bargain:
Am I the only one that thinks Pato could be a massive steal for Chelsea?— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) January 20, 2016
Much depends on where the Brazilian is utilised in the Blues setup as he would need regular minutes to become acquainted to the pace of English football. Pato has typically shown his best form playing as a second striker or floating in from the left flank, and although Chelsea have been struggling, in the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Pedro, they have options in these positions.
Where they are short in numbers is at the point of the attack, where Diego Costa remains the only reliable No. 9. Deputising for the former Atletico Madrid man as a lone striker would make for a difficult introduction into Premier League football for Pato.