Monday 18 December 2017

Pedro could be Premier 'great'

Hargreaves backs Spanish ace to star in English top flight

Barcelona striker Pedro celebrates after his extra-time goal beat Sevilla to win the UEFA Super Cup in Tbilisi on Tuesday night
Barcelona striker Pedro celebrates after his extra-time goal beat Sevilla to win the UEFA Super Cup in Tbilisi on Tuesday night

Manchester United target Pedro can become a Premier League 'great', according to Owen Hargreaves.

Louis van Gaal is closing in on a deal for the Barcelona forward, who has already told the hierarchy at the Nou Camp that he wants to end his 11-year association with the club.

United will have to meet his £22m buyout clause to bring him to Old Trafford - but Hargreaves is convinced the 28-year-old will thrive in England.

The former United and England midfielder claims any of the Premier League's elite would want Pedro in their side.

"He's one of those very unselfish wingers that can score goals and does a job for the team," said Hargreaves.

"You think about Chelsea, Manchester City, Man United - I think they could all do with him in a wide area.

"He's a super player. I think he would be a great player in the Premier League.

"He is very unselfish for a wide man. He's going to be a great asset to any English team if they can sign him."

Pedro has won three Champions League trophies with Barca and was also part of Spain's World Cup and European Championship winning squads.

He gave a glimpse of his quality on Tuesday night when coming on to score an extra time winner in Barca's 5-4 European Super Cup triumph against Sevilla.

But it is not only his attacking qualities that will make him suited to the Premier League, claims Hargreaves.

Hargreaves said: "If he's going to play in the Premier League he's going to have to defend.

"That's what I love about him. As a wide man, as a goal scorer he puts in shift for the team.

"You think about some of the English teams in the Champions League. You need players that track back. He provides great balance to the team defensively."

Van Gaal has identified Pedro as a player to add pace and creativity to his attack. The promise of regular first team football after falling behind Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at Barca is believed to be his motivation to move.

"I have talked with my teammates," he said. "I don't know what is going to happen.

"I thank this club a million because I will always be a Barcelonista. When there is so much talk about it it's a difficult situation for me. It's not for money, as has been said - which is another lack of respect.

"It's a question of continuity, of minutes. I'm an ambitious player. Stay or go, I will always be of this team," he added.

Meanwhile, Rafael has opened up about his exit from Manchester United, claiming manager Van Gaal did not like him.

Rafael's eight-year spell at United came to an end last week when he signed for Lyon for £2.1million.

While Rafael said he did not know if the fact that he is Brazilian had an effect on his exit - Van Gaal clashed with Giovanni and Rivaldo when at Barcelona - the right-back was left with the impression that the United boss was certainly not a fan of his.

"I know this history that he doesn't like Brazilians, but I can't say: 'Oh, he doesn't like Brazilians.'," Rafael said.

"I know that he didn't like me, but if that's because I'm Brazilian, I don't know."

Rafael's relationship was clearly stronger with Ferguson, who rang the Brazilian after his move to Lyon went through.

The 25-year-old added: "That change was fatal for me. I was going well, then Ferguson left."

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