Chelsea appear to have pulled off a timely transfer coup by persuading Barcelona forward Pedro to sign on at Stamford Bridge when the Spaniard had looked 95 per cent through the Old Trafford door.
Having suffered a terrible start to their Premier League title defence, bloodying Manchester United’s nose and securing a world class talent for their troubles is a welcome shot in the arm for Jose Mourinho.
Pedro’s capture is the perfect way for Chelsea’s fiercely-scrutinised boss to douse the media firestorm he created with ‘doctor-gate’ and deflect attention away from the 3-0 pasting received courtesy of new 11/10 Premier League favourites Manchester City.
Chelsea, who began the season as rock-solid favourites, have now drifted to 7/2.
Moreover, though, snapping up a player with 99 Barca goals, five La Liga titles and just the three Champions League winners medals, ought to lift spirits down the King’s Road.
Staying with spirits however, there are a few apparitions from Mourinho’s second Chelsea stint, whose fate Pedro will do well to avoid imitating.
One thing Mourinho has proved adept at since answering the Roman Abramovich call once more, other than bringing in trophies of course, is bungling a disproportionate amount of his wide-forward purchases.
Other than Willian, the player whose place is now ironically most under threat from Pedro’s acquisition, first-team opportunities have been scarce for others, while two can comfortably be labelled as duds.
Andre Schurrle impressed in spurts but was never fully trusted before being offloaded back to the Bundesliga last January, admittedly for a healthy fee.
Meanwhile, reactionary purchase Mohamed Salah – also a last-minute intervention signing – never got a look in and Juan Cuadrado is beginning to look like one of Chelsea’s most costly mistakes.
The Colombian World Cup star simply hasn’t impressed Mourinho by all accounts, despite costing a fee a few million north of what £21m Pedro is setting Chelsea back.
Although a far more modest sum was spent on £3.5m signing Christian Atsu, the former Porto man is another to have floundered badly in west London.
Pedro’s reputation makes it difficult to envisage the trophy-magnet’s Blues career following the same path, but it’s certainly a concerning trend under the Special One, MII at the Bridge.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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