Barcelona forward Pedro came close to completing a move to Arsenal this summer, but opted to stay put at the Camp Nou after it became apparent that Luis Enrique was the manager chosen to replace Tata Martino.
This is according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim that Pedro seriously considered leaving Barcelona after being overlooked by Martino in favour of Alexis Sanchez, the Chile international who did eventually leave the Catalan giants for the Gunners this summer.
However, following a phone call from the incoming Enrique, Pedro was convinced that he still had a future with his current employers and instructed his representatives to cancel negotiations with Arsenal and other interested clubs.
Arsenal turned to Alexis instead
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger subsequently splashed out £32 million for the services of Pedro’s Barcelona teammate Alexis, who was allowed to leave the Camp Nou in order to help the Catalan club fund their mega-money deal for Luis Suarez.
Despite receiving assurances from Enrique, Pedro may still have concerns about his future as a Barcelona player, having started just three of the club’s six La Liga matches at the start of this season.
Can Enrique keep his promise?
Enrique has started 19-year-old Munir El Haddadi in one more league fixture than Pedro, and will soon have a major dilemma on his hands when Suarez returns from his ban.
The world-class Uruguay international will be available to make his competitive debut in this month’s eagerly-anticipated Clasico against fierce rivals Real Madrid on October 25 - and has not been brought to the Camp Nou to sit on the bench.
Enrique plans to use Neymar and Suarez as his two most advanced forwards - each drifting to the left and right flanks, respectively - with Lionel Messi in the No. 10 role.
This will leave Barcelona with arguably the world’s most formidable attack - perhaps rivalled only by Real Madrid’s ‘BBC’ comprised of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo - and leave serious question marks, once again, over Pedro’s future.
Pedro could still leave Barcelona
Enrique’s management style has drawn comparisons to that of Pep Guardiola, who made the inspired decision to bring Pedro through from Barcelona’s ‘B’ team in 2008. But the 27-year-old is no longer one of the team’s young stars, and Barca’s current coach appears to be looking to the next generation to find the next Pedro or the next Messi.
Nevertheless, Barcelona hope that Pedro will put pen-to-paper on a contract extension. The Spain internationals current deal expires in 2016, meaning his £25 million valuation will start to decrease as the months go by.
Whether Arsenal would still be interested in Pedro is unclear, although he would have no shortage of potential suitors if he opted to leave in January or next summer.