It seems inevitable that Pedro will be leaving Chelsea, either during January or in the summer. If this is the case, he will be going out with a whimper: he is unquestionably Chelsea’s fourth choice winger, behind Hudson-Odoi, Willian and Pulisic, and his exit will be barely noticed by those both inside and outside of the club.
Seeing what the Spaniard has given the club over the last five years, and how vital he has been, it is a shame that it has come to this.
He signed for the bargain price of £21.4 million in 2015 from Barcelona, and it is fair to say that he was (by far) the most successful signing of a summer that included purchases of Baba Rahman and Pappy Djilobodji. His debut has been forgotten all too easily: a fantastic performance away at West Brom, where he excited Chelsea fans with a goal and an assist during a 3-2 win; this was a very hard season to come to the Premier League, and, like the majority of the team, Pedro struggled to find his best form during the rest of it. Still, 8 goals and 3 assists was a decent return for his first season at the club.
The season that followed saw Pedro’s finest and most memorable contributions in a Chelsea shirt. Under Antonio Conte, he battled with Willian for the first-team spot on the right-hand side, with 13 goals and 12 assists being his best return for the club. His first important contribution came during a 4-0 home win over Manchester United in October, where he scored within 30 seconds to help Chelsea to humiliate Jose Mourinho on his return to Stamford Bridge. He then shone in what was arguably our best performance of the season against Everton, scoring once and assisting twice in a 5-0 win, and his brilliant leveller at home to Spurs will always be remembered. He then contributed two massive goals against Swansea and Everton in the title run-in – it is fair to say that, without Pedro, Chelsea would not have won the Premier League that year, and that has become far too easily forgotten.
One question of Pedro that has lingered is about his inconsistency; he has never been the go-to man in attack, and has had poor patches. It has to be admitted that, at many points before now, it had looked like his career at Chelsea was over, only for him to provide a timely match-winning contribution in a game of high importance.
This is particularly applicable to his last two full seasons at the club. During the 2017/18 season, it suddenly looked like Pedro had run out of steam. He only registered 7 goals and 5 assists in that season, but he still proved to be the big-game player that he was at Barcelona; he was fantastic against his former club in the Champions League round of 16, and he scored a vital goal in the FA Cup quarter final against Leicester – a match that looked to be going away from Chelsea.
Furthermore, under Maurizio Sarri last season, Pedro contributed heavily to the Europa League triumph, scoring vitally important goals against Slavia Prague, Eintracht Frankfurt, and then, in the final, against Arsenal. He also scored the winner against Tottenham in a 2-1 win – something that drove us on to a top 4 finish that year. This again proved that Pedro was a big-game player.
While Pedro has clearly had frustrating moments in his Chelsea career, his key contributions to Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League triumphs are far more important. When he hasn’t been playing, he has been the ultimate professional – he seems to be a popular member of the dressing room. He has also only been unavailable for 3 games through injury over five years.
Pedro has given the club countless committed and memorable performances over the last five seasons, and he will always be remembered fondly amongst the Chelsea fans. When he does make his quiet exit, he will be sure to be wished the very best on his way.
By Daniel Parr (@dan_parr1 on twitter)