The 2019 summer transfer window may be offering up its first tug-o-war, coming from the direction of the Premier League. The target is Brazilian striker João Pedro who is currently set to join Watford in January 2020 from Campeonato Carioca side Fluminense, the second purchase the Hornets will have made from the club in two years. However, it may not be all plain sailing...
It’s far from the first time Watford have stood up and taken notice of South American talent. An Argentinian contingent arrived in the form of Roberto Pereyra and Mauro Zárate in 2016, and Uruguayan Miguel Britos preceding that alongside the Venezuelan Adalberto Peñaranda who only recently was finally granted his first-team debut for the club.
In 2017, Richarlison arrived for £11million from Fluminense; the subsequent success of his debut season and the considerable profit Watford made upon selling the forward a year later to Everton for £35million has undoubtedly helped lead the Hornets to return to the Brazilian club.
Past players such as Thiago Silva (AC Milan then Paris Saint-Germain) and Marcelo (Real Madrid) have moved from Fluminense to great success in Europe. Current striker Pedro, who will now offer competition in the Brazil national team set-up to Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, is currently due to arrive at Vicarage Road in the new year.
Watford’s Premier League rivals Liverpool - who with manager Jurgen Klopp have reached the final of the Champions League for the second successive season - have reportedly launched a late hijacking of the 17 year-old who has attracted considerably more attention through scoring seven goals in the space of three games, in just ten days, with the teenager showing aerial prowess and poacher’s initiative in his recent goal glut. After six games of the season, Fluminense lie in 16th in the Série A but have scored the second highest amount of goals in the league. With a further two assists, Pedro has been involved in two-thirds of them.
Watford, seizing the opportunity, have an agreement in place for the player to arrive in the January, having paid an initial €2.5million, potentially moving up to €10million with add-ons and bonuses. If this is retracted by Fluminense, they will be duty bound via a clause in the contract to ensure that the Hornets are paid €20million in a subsequent sell.
The official Liverpool F.C website picks up on reports from The Mail that the club sent Reds scout Dassler Marques to witness Pedro featuring for Fluminense against Atletico Nacional. Regardless if the transfer to Watford proceeds or not, the Hornets - who have enjoyed a stellar season with Javi Gracia - will stand to profit after their pre-emptive move for the young starlet.