LONDON: Spain winger Pedro Rodriguez has signed a four-year deal at Chelsea to complete his £21.4m move from Barcelona.
Simultaneous;y title rivals Manchester City confirmed the signing of Argentina central defender Nicolas Otamendi from Valencia.
Pedro, who had been a target of Manchester United, immediately trained with his new team-mates at Chelsea’s Cobham training ground and could make his debut in Sunday’s match at West Bromwichj.
Manager Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona playmaker Cesc Fabregas, whose first season at Stamford Bridge ended with a Premier League and Capital One Cup double, finally persuaded Pedro to join the Blues.
Pedro said on chelseafc.com: “He (Mourinho) is one of the main reasons why I’m here. He phoned me a few times and said he needed me to make the team stronger.
“He has won titles wherever he has been. I am really looking forward to playing under him and hopefully winning more titles.
“I spoke to Cesc. We are very good friends. I knew I would feel at home here and that was one of the main reasons why I decided to join.
“I am very happy to be here. I am very excited to start my adventure at Chelsea and I am here to keep winning titles.”
“Cesc is a great player, he’s got brilliant vision and he links up really well with the other attacking players. I know we work well together on the pitch so I can’t wait to play with him again. I have also played with Diego Costa and Cesar Azpilicueta before, for the national team, so I feel very comfortable here.”
Pedro had been a target for United throughout the summer, with the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward flying to Catalonia on Monday in an attempt to seal a deal for the player.
But things changed rapidly on Wednesday as it emerged that United boss Louis van Gaal had withdrawn his interest while Chelsea were moving to steal a march on their rivals.
It was reminiscent of the deal two years ago which saw Willian on the verge of signing for Tottenham before Chelsea swooped for the Brazilian.
Mourinho has acted quickly and decisively in the transfer market after Chelsea endured their worst start to a season in 17 years.
Shortly after their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, Chelsea signed left-back Baba Rahman from Augsburg for £21million, and Pedro’s arrival gives Mourinho’s side fresh attacking intent.
The Blues also hope to conclude the signing of Everton defender John Stones before the transfer window shuts on September 1, although the Toffees are sticking firm and determined to hold on to the England international.
Pedro’s arrival could have repercussions for Juan Cuadrado, who has disappointed since his January arrival from Fiorentina, or Victor Moses, who is back at Chelsea after spending last season on loan at Stoke.
Oscar and Willian are others who could find themselves in need of justifying their places, although Mourinho will be less inclined to lose the Brazilian pair.
Pedro wishes to hit the ground running and is versatile, so could provide a central attacking option, too.
“I am ready to start playing straightaway if the manager selects me,” he said.
“Sometimes I play on the right, sometimes on the left, but wherever I play I will give my best. I am very fast. I do everything possible to win. I have helped Barcelona win titles and I want to do exactly the same thing at Chelsea, because ultimately we are all here to win things.
“It’s a new challenge and I can’t wait to get going.”
City new boy
Otamendi, 27, had been strongly linked with a £28.5m move to Manchester City since last weekend, and has signed a five-year contract. He will bolster central defensive ranks at City that include two familiar faces in former Porto team-mate Eliaquim Mangala and international colleague Martin Demichelis, as well as captain Vincent Kompany.
Otamendi told the club’s website: “I am here to give my best, to fight game by game and push City to the highest peaks for as long as possible, and I wish we will be able to win several cups and titles.
“That’s most important. To be here inside a club that looks so wonderful from the outside is a dream.”
No financial details of the deal have been revealed but it is thought Valencia were hoping to use the sale to write off part of the fee they still owe City for striker Alvaro Negredo.
“I am here to give my best, to fight game by game and push City to the highest peaks for as long as possible.”Otamendi joined the Spanish club from Porto just a year ago. Initial reports at the weekend claimed Valencia wanted to offset his loss by signing Mangala on loan in exchange but City had no intention of allowing the £42million Frenchman to leave Eastlands.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “Nicolas Otamendi was arguably the best defender in La Liga last season and so naturally I’m delighted to have added a player of his quality.
“He is an established international for one of the best nations in world football and I have no doubt that he has the right mentality to fit into a squad where he will find many familiar faces, including Eliaquim and Fernando who he played alongside in Portugal.
“As a footballer, Nicolas has all of the qualities to be a success in the Premier League – he’s strong, he’s excellent in the tackle and he’s very good technically.
“I am sure he will become another Argentine player our fans will enjoy watching.”
The Buenos Aires-born player also won the Portuguese league three times in four seasons with Porto as well as the Europa League.
He is City’s third high-profile recruit of the summer after the captures of Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph. His signing has also been completed relatively smoothly compared to their protracted apparent pursuit of Wolfsburg’s Kevin de Bruyne.