After a tumultuous opening two games of their 2015-2016 Premier League Campaign, Champions Chelsea finally realized the need for some reinforcements. The defence was in shambles and the goals were not flowing. Manager Jose Mourinho substituted John Terry to prove a point and Roman Abramovich bought out his chequebook- Ghanaian Baba Rahman and Spanish winger Pedro soon signed for Chelsea. While Baba Rahman is more likely to be a squad player for the Blues, it is Pedro that seems to be the real signing of the season.
Pedro’s move to Chelsea was unexpected to say the least. A La Masia graduate and loyal foot soldier for 7 seasons, Pedro seemed to be dissatisfied with life at the Barcelona ever since Luiz Suarez was signed, and he was delegated to the bench last season. He scored the winning goal off the bench in this season’s 5-4 win against Sevilla in the European Super Cup, but the frustration was clearly visible. With speculation over his status mounting, he seemed to be set for Old Trafford, with Man United chief executive Ed Woodward even travelling to the Catalan capital to finalize the deal. However, Chelsea stepped in at the last moment and a phone call from Jose Mourinho guaranteeing first team football, and then a talk with close friend Cesc Fabregas clinched the deal for Pedro to move to Stamford Bridge instead in a 21 million pound transfer.
Pedro brings with him immense talent and attacking flair taught at the hallowed grounds of La Masia. Despite limited appearances, he managed to score 99 goals for Barcelona. At Chelsea, he is expected to be drafted into the side in place of Oscar. Oscar has had three highly successful seasons at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho played him as a no 10, and, for a while, and he flourished. However, as time passed, Oscar seemed to wilt. While his work rate is unparalleled, he is dispossessed easily and lacks the creativity needed to set up box-to-box strikers such as Diego Costa. Willian, who currently plays at the right, can play much better in that role. Pedro comes into the squad on the right, while Eden Hazard plays on the left. Whilst earlier it was only Hazard stretching the opposing team’s defenders, the presence of Pedro on the right means that Chelsea’s play would get much more width than it currently does.
This is exactly what happened in the 2-3 win against West Brom on Sunday afternoon. Pedro, with his amazing tenacity and brimming confidence, worked his way past the hard working defenders West Brom employed and broke the deadlock for his team. He also set up compatriot Diego Costa, who scored soon after. Eden Hazard also came close on many occasions, benefitting from the extra space Pedro’s runs created.
Pedro joins the line of Spanish saviours that have arrived at Chelsea and rescued the side in recent times. Juan Mata was signed from Valencia by Andre Villas Boas and immediately stepped up Chelsea’s game to bring in the goals that the team was lacking. Last season, the combo of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas combined on many occasions to set up Chelsea’s awe-inspiring start to the season in stark contrast to the goal drought in the latter months of the previous season. In much the same way, Pedro is expected to make the difference for the Blues in a crowded Premier League title race. Whether he succeeds, only time will tell- but he couldn’t have wished for a better start.