It goes without saying that Angel di Maria’s performances at Manchester United last season, whilst starting promisingly, didn’t go as well as the club expected.
The Argentine has since completed a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain for around £44 million and despite his poor campaign at Old Trafford, the forward is undoubtedly a world-class talent who will prove a worthy addition to Laurent Blanc's side.
His sale, regardless of the impact he had, means that a replacement is a necessity for Louis van Gaal, with Barcelona ace Pedro widely rumoured to be the man to fill the void - but what would he bring to the Red Devils, and what would his transfer mean for those currently competing for a place in United's wider positions?
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The 28-year-old's transfer to Manchester is becoming increasingly likely after the Spaniard admitted that he was frustrated by his lack of playing time at Barcelona last season.
The winger was mainly used as a substitute by Luis Enrique and, whilst below the fearsome MSN of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in the attacking pecking order, spent much of last season watching on from the sidelines whilst his team-mates terrorised defences across Europe.
His fall from grace has meant that his ability has been somewhat forgotten, but let us not forget that Pedro has won both the European Championship and the World Cup with Spain in addition to countless trophies at Barcelona, including the 2010/11 Champions League, in which he scored the first goal of the final against Manchester United at Wembley.
However, having played considerably less minutes last season than the previous five, not to mention being snubbed for a place in Barcelona's starting XI in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup last weekend, the forward is looking for a way out.
The competition for places at Old Trafford has increased over the summer, mostly in central midfield, but should United decide to activate Pedro’s £22.1 million release clause and sign the winger this summer, that competition will spread to United’s frontline because Pedro, like Alexis Sanchez when he left the Nou Camp for Arsenal, will want to be guaranteed regular football.
The playmaker, who knows Pedro well from their time together in the Spanish national team, would seem likely to move into the no. 10 role as a result of Pedro’s potential move.
Despite being frequently deployed on the right under Van Gaal last season and by David Moyes before that, Mata’s natural position is undoubtedly just behind the striker, with his ability to dictate play and assist those around him something that could largely influence United's attack.
Ashley Young & Adnan Januzaj
The wingers who would be most at risk of dropping further down the pecking order are stars Ashley Young and Adnan Januzaj.
Despite Young’s brilliant end to last season, where he provided numerous goals and assists, the winger would face a tall ask in keeping the two wonderful feet, pace, guile and guaranteed end product of Pedro out of the team.
The 20-year-old Januzaj, on the other hand, is already starved of first-team football and while his talent is undoubted, the Belgian may be forced to seek a loan move in order to secure more regular playing time.
If Pedro indeed joins United we could also see youngster and new signing Memphis Depay moved back out to the left wing, where he has been at his most comfortable and most productive throughout his career.
At the moment, Van Gaal seems intent on playing Memphis in the no. 10 role, but from a wider area the 21-year-old Dutchman could really display his pace and natural ability, and it’s where he bagged 22 league goals for Dutch champions PSV last season.
If Van Gaal opted to do this, an attacking trio of Memphis, skipper Wayne Rooney and Pedro could mean for a formidable attacking force, let alone supplied by the creativity of Mata and Bastian Schweinsteiger in behind.
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