5 big Premier League players facing make-or-break seasons at their current clubs
2. Pedro (Chelsea)
Seven years ago, Pedro, a seemingly unremarkable winger in Barcelona’s B team, was plucked from relative obscurity by novice coach Pep Guardiola and given a run alongside Lionel Messi & Co. Twelve months later, he’d played a starring role in treble and World Cup triumphs, and managed the remarkable record of being the only player to have scored in six competitions in a single season (his side won all six, too). It’s fair to say there have been worse debut seasons.
Now though, the scampering Spaniard’s stock seems to have plummeted just as quickly. First he fell victim to Barcelona’s adoption of a (whisper it) galacticos-style transfer policy, where he dropped behind Neymar and Luis Suarez in the food chain, before arriving at Stamford Bridge with impeccably bad timing, just as Jose Mourinho was commencing his scorch-the-earth routine.
Much of his recent woes, then, have been out of his hands. And yet there’s no denying that even on his owns terms Pedro was a huge let-down last season, his eight goals and generally unimposing displays doing little to repay what looked like a bargain £21m transfer fee.
Because his career took off comparatively late (he was 22 when he scored his first senior goal) it’s easy to think Pedro is younger than he is. In reality, he will be 29 this week – and one suspects that another underwhelming season could spell the end for him at the elite level of club football.