Chelsea continued their quietly effective summer transfer window when confirming the signing of Asmir Begovic from Stoke City on Tuesday. The 28-year-old has been speedily procured to replace Petr Cech, who departed for Arsenal at the end of last month, and provide quality back-up to Thibaut Courtois next season. His arrival follows that of Radamel Falcao and adds further depth to a squad that is looking to retain the Premier League title and go further in the Champions League next season. And that process looks set to continue ahead of the close of the transfer window.
One of those arriving could be Barcelona winger Pedro. An unheralded, but influential, part of Barcelona’s success under Pep Guardiola, the 27-year-old found his appearances limited last season following the arrival of Luis Suárez. And he has admitted that he is in a “difficult situation at Barcelona,” and appears to have made a large step toward the exit door when negotiating a sharp decrease in his buyout clause, from a prohibitive 150 million euros (£106 million) to just 30 million euros (£21.1 million).
“Both the club and I decided to reduce the clause and it's true there are offers,” he said, according to Barcelona-based outlet Sport. Pedro wouldn’t divulge whether one of those offers was from Chelsea, but did add that he hadn’t spoken with Jose Mourinho. His current manager, though, admitted that Pedro was now in control of his future.
“I don’t want anyone to leave but there is a clause,” Luis Enrique said, reports The Guardian. “We have to respect his decision. I do not deceive anyone and I do not guarantee anyone playing time. It will be his personal decision.”
Barcelona would appear to have good reason for wanting to keep hold of Pedro for the time being, given they cannot register new players, including the recently signed Arda Turan, until January. He also wouldn’t be an obvious fit for Chelsea. Pedro, a winner of the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship with Spain, would essentially being going head-to-head with Mourinho-favorite Willian for the hard-working role on the right flank opposite Eden Hazard. Meanwhile, Chelsea still have on their books the player they signed to provide competition on the right wing in January, Juan Cuadrado, who barely got a look in before the end of last season.
Arguably a more pressing need for Chelsea is in central midfield. With Cesc Fabregas lacking the defensive responsibility alongside Nemanja Matic against the toughest opposition, Mourinho often had to find creative solutions while pushing the Spaniard further forward. But a more robust option has looked likely to be sought in this transfer window and that could be fulfilled by Charles Aránguiz.
A key part of Chile’s lineup in recent years, it has long seemed a matter of time before the player, currently based in Brazil with Internacional, made a move to a significant club in Europe. Aránguiz’s box-to-box abilities were in evidence in last year’s World Cup, including scoring a crucial goal against Spain, and in helping his country to the Copa America title earlier this month. And after reports of Chelsea’s interest at the weekend, the Daily Star is now reporting that the Blues are in talks over an £8 million transfer.