EXCLUSIVE | By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens
Manchester United are hopeful of clinching the signing of Pedro this week, Football Insider sources understand.
The deal has been delayed after United and Pedro’s representatives last week agreed the terms of a five-year contract with a basic salary of £190,000-a-week plus top-up bonuses.
But United remain confident of capturing their No1 forward target before the window shuts and there is a strong possibility the transfer will go through this week.
Added to the £22million transfer fee, the total package required to entice the Barcelona forward to Old Trafford is £72million, although he will bank more money if he and the team are successful.
Manchester City have also been linked with Pedro but United believe they have laid the foundations to capture the 27-year-old and an agreement with the player is in place.
“We have been working on the Pedro deal a long time and we are nearly there with it now,” a United source told Football Insider. “There is hope that it will go through this week.”
It is the latest in a series of big-money deals negotiated by United as manager Louis van Gaal builds a squad to challenge for the Premier League title.
Speaking last Tuesday after scoring the goal that sealed Barcelona’s 5-4 Super Cup win over Sevilla, Pedro all but confirmed that he is leaving Barcelona. He said: “It’s a difficult situation for me. I don’t want to go but it’s a question of playing time, of continuity in the team, it’s been this way for a few years now.”
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has led the talks to sign Pedro after United agreed to meet Pedro’s £22million release clause earlier this month.
The club have acted quickly to replace Angel Di Maria, who has joined Paris Saint-Germain for an initial £45million.
Barcelona are powerless to stop Pedro ending his long association with the club due to the buy-out clause inserted in the new contract he signed earlier this summer. He signed a four-year contract at Camp Nou in June, but it is understood that the player only committed to the new deal after negotiating a reduction in his buy-out clause from £110million to £22million.
The Spain international has made it clear to friends that he wants to join United and link up with his countrymen Juan Mata, David de Gea and Ander Herrera.
Louis van Gaal, who has spent £76million on five new signings so far this summer, has admitted he wants to “improve at least two positions” before the transfer window closes, with the Dutchman identifying a forward and an experienced centre-half as his two priority areas of reinforcement.
Despite making a consistent contribution to Barcelona’s treble success last season, Pedro’s opportunities have been limited by the presence of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
The Barcelona academy graduate, who can play in all three forward positions, has scored 98 goals in 318 appearances for the Catalan club as well as an impressive 16 in 50 international matches.
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