Watford are under little pressure to sell Newcastle United transfer target Joao Pedro, sources have told Nothing But Newcastle.
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Still to sign a new forward this summer, attentions have now turned to the Brazilian.
Despite relegation to the Championship, Newcastle have seen enough from the 20-year-old, with a £20m offer lodged. That, however, has been rejected and Watford are confident of keeping their player.
Having already sold Emmanuel Dennis, the club are determined to hold on to Pedro as they eye a quick-fire return to the Premier League. While it remains to be seen as to whether or not Newcastle will return with a fresh offer, Watford hold a strong stance and remain adamant Pedro will stay at Vicarage Road.
Why are Newcastle targeting Pedro?
Able to operate out wide as well as through the middle of the attack, Pedro is of a similar profile to that of Hugo Ekitike.
A young player to strengthen the attacking line right away, as well as potentially grow over the next few years, the former Fluminense forward could feasibly cover Callum Wilson while playing alongside him on the wing.
Indeed, Pedro looks ideal for a high-energy brand of football. According to FBREF data, the South American ranks within the leading 85% of forwards playing across Europe’s big five leagues over the last year for pressures (18.45), tackles (1.20), interceptions (1.04), blocks (1.53) and clearances (0.99) per game.
Attacking wise, Pedro ranks within the leading 85% for progressive passes (3.07), progressive carries (4.87) and dribbles completed (2.79).
Certainly, there are reasons to be excited about his future and the hope will be to mould him into a more prolific attacker in front of goal. In 77 appearances for Watford, Pedro has scored 14 times, including a header during a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park in January.
As a young player to develop, Pedro is a logical target.
What has been said about Joao Pedro?
Speaking after Watford’s win over Sheffield Untied earlier this month, manager Rob Edwards hailed his player as “special”.
“João is a very talented player, and when you marry talent with hard work you’ve got potential to be very special, and he has that potential in him,” said Edwards (via the Chronicle).
“He’s a great person, a team player, and he showed both sides of his game against Sheffield United. Joao has that licence to find spaces. Whether he goes outside or comes deep, he knows he can go and look for the space. He’s a clever player, and he’ll find the gaps.
“As coaches we can help him, but he’s such an intelligent player already that he will find the spaces on the pitch. He then knows has the freedom to express himself.”