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Saturday 3 December 2016

Pedro primed for big Chelsea move

Blues trigger £21.2m buy-out clause as United drop interest

Barcelona forward Pedro is poised to complete a £22million move to Chelsea after flying to London yesterday to complete a medical, just two days after the United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, had travelled to Spain to try to close a deal
Barcelona forward Pedro is poised to complete a £22million move to Chelsea after flying to London yesterday to complete a medical, just two days after the United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, had travelled to Spain to try to close a deal

Chelsea are in pole position to sign Pedro after Manchester United's interest in the Barcelona winger cooled.

Premier League champions Chelsea, reeling from their worst start to a season in 17 years, are understood to be interested in the Spanish forward.

It is not clear how far negotiations for the 28-year-old have progressed, but United now appear to have conceded defeat in the race for his signature, handing the initiative to Chelsea.

Pedro is reportedly available for a fee of £22million, but senior figures at Old Trafford say doubts in the player's mind over the move led United boss Louis van Gaal to end the pursuit.

The Spain forward would add to Jose Mourinho's attacking options and his potential arrival could lead to a move away from Stamford Bridge for Juan Cuadrado.

Cuadrado, a January arrival from Fiorentina, has struggled to impose himself on the Blues and has been linked with a return to Italy.

Chelsea have one point from their opening two games of the season and are also looking to strengthen in defence.

John Stones has been the subject of a reported three failed bids, with Everton determined to hold on to the England centre back.

The Blues play at West Brom on Sunday and at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday week prior to the closure of the transfer window on Tuesday, September 1, by when Mourinho will hope to have bolstered his options in attack and defence.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have insisted Thomas Muller is not for sale after a report in Germny claimed Manchester United had made an official €85m (£60m) bid for the forward last week.

United's interest in Muller is well known but there has yet to be any confirmation from the club of a firm offer.

Matthias Sammer, Bayern's sporting director, said: "It is not Thomas who is causing the fuss, it is his performances. And we can't do anything about that. (Chief executive) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is right, he is a player that we cannot put a price on."

United are aware of the German club's stance yet Louis van Gaal is keen to test Bayern's resolve.

Earlier in the summer United made informal contact regarding Müller but were told he was not available. At the time, Rummenigge promised supporters that Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was bought by United in July, would be the only Bayern player sold to the club in this transfer window.

Bayern are aware, though, that Muller is flattered by Van Gaal's desire to buy him and the United manager's strategy may be to force Rummenigge into a public acknowledgment that there has been an official offer.

United are also aware that by making their interest clear this summer, they may stand a better chance of getting their man in a year's time.

Rummenigge would find it difficult politically to sell Muller, at least this summer. In last Friday's Bundesliga opening match the striker scored twice against Hamburg at the Allianz Arena.

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