By Editor

Pedro has flown to London to sign for Chelsea in an astonishing transfer twist, Football Insider sources understand.

The striker could finalise the move as early as Wednesday after the London club agreed to trigger the £22million release clause in his Barcelona contract.

Manchester United have long been the favourites to capture the 27-year-old but are now poised to be beaten to the Pedro transfer by Jose Mourinho’s team.

Chelsea’s swoop came after the team’s worst start to the Premier League season in 17 years and Mourinho made it clear to the hierarchy that he wanted his forward line to be strengthened.

The Premier League champions have agreed a five-year contract with the player, which is believed to be on the same terms as the £190,000-a-week deal he had agreed with United.

Louis van Gaal’s team had pursued the Spain international for a month after identifying him as the pacy proven option they needed to reinforce their forward line.

Advanced discussions had taken place with Barcelona over the structure of the deal after Pedro signed a new contract in June which lowered his release clause from £110million to £22million.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was widely reported to have flown to Spain on Monday to seal the deal.

But just as the Pedro transfer to Old Trafford was close, Chelsea have hijacked the move and will complete their fourth major signing of the summer following the captures of Asmir Begovic, Radamel Falcao and Baba Rahman.

United sources are claiming that Van Gaal went cold on the Pedro transfer after the team’s early matches had demonstrated to him they were well stocked in the wide forward position, the role in which the player is used for club and country.

Spanish reports say United were unwilling to meet the entirety of Pedro’s £22million release clause in a single payment.