Pedro's United move likely after Bartomeu keeps post

Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez, frustrated with limited game time, is set to draw a £22 million bid from United.
Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez, frustrated with limited game time, is set to draw a £22 million bid from United.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEATTLE • Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu's re-election has paved the way for Manchester United to swoop for the club's winger Pedro, with the Premier League side set to make a £22 million (S$47 million) offer.

Bartomeu, 52, on Saturday beat off the challenge of Joan Laporta, receiving 54.63 per cent of the votes, compared to the former incumbent's 33.03 per cent.

Agusti Benedito was third (7.16 per cent) while Toni Freixa polled 3.70 per cent.

Laporta, 53, had vowed to block Pedro's Nou Camp exit if he won the presidential election.

And Bartomeu's triumph could now see the English club activate the Spain international's £22 million release clause.

United manager Louis van Gaal wants to strengthen two areas of the team - his front line and central defence - before the transfer deadline. Pedro would increase their options in attack while the arrival of Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, should it happen, would bolster their defence.

If United goalkeeper David de Gea leaves for Real, the club have a plan in place, which could mean buying Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. He was van Gaal's No. 1 when the Dutchman led the Netherlands to third place at last year's World Cup in Brazil.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was in Seattle for the opening week of the tour and attended Friday's 1-0 win over Club America at CenturyLink Field, outlined the club's approach to acquiring players.

"Once Louis sets his targets - and I think it's always important to have more than one target for each position, because you have to accept that sometimes you may not get your first choice for whatever reason, so let's plan ahead and look at two and three - then all I do is go and negotiate the deals with the club and the player," he told MUTV.

Woodward has since flown home. But he is slated to return to the United States on Thursday before the match against Barca next weekend in Santa Clara to address van Gaal's hopes of signing Pedro.

The 27-year-old signed a new four-year deal only last month but Barcelona are prepared to listen to offers following his frustration over a lack of regular playing time.

"It's true I have received important offers," said the Chelsea target.

"My situation is complicated because I want to play a lot of minutes but that is becoming very difficult at Barcelona."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Pedro's United move likely after Bartomeu keeps post'. Print Edition | Subscribe