A player who snubbed a late attempt by Liverpool to hijack his move to a fellow Premier League side has been named in Goal’s NxGn 2020 list of the top 50 footballers born on or after 1 January 2001.
Brazilian giants Fluminense had reached an agreement with Watford over the sale of Joao Pedro in September 2018, although they had to wait until January 2020, when the forward turned 18, before signing the contract.
Despite receiving €2.5million (£2million) from Watford to help push the deal over the line, Globoesporte reported in May last year that the deal was in danger of collapsing, with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds believed to have been one of several European sides still interested in Pedro.
The Metro, as cited by Liverpool’s Media Watch, claimed that the Anfield side enquired about Pedro, and Reds scout Dassler Marques watched the teenager score a hat-trick for Fluminense in their 4-1 win over Atletico Nacional at the end of May.
The British outlet also claimed that, if Pedro’s switch to Vicarage Road fell through, there was a clause in his contract with Watford that he can join another side, as long as the Hornets were paid £20million by his new team.
In the end, Watford got their man after his work permit was approved in October last year, subsequently arriving at Vicarage Road in the new year.
“Watford moved quickly to beat a host of clubs to the signing of Joao Pedro, snapping up the Fluminense forward in October 2018 – before he had even made his professional debut,” wrote Goal.
“The 18-year-old Brazilian striking sensation eventually moved to England in January of this year, having been belatedly granted a work permit, and made his Hornets debut in the FA Cup just a few days later.
“The expectation now is that Pedro, who started out as a winger, will prove just as big a hit at Vicarage Road as compatriot Richarlison before him.”
Liverpool apparently tried with a late move for a player who is hoping to become Watford’s next Richarlison and in the end fell short, but it’s not much a surprise as he had already agreed a move to the Hornets, so fair play to him for honouring it.
That said, with Richarlison now at Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton, who knows whether Pedro could potentially go down the same route in a few years’ time?
It’s still way too soon, given he’s only made two appearances for the Hornets and, given he is contracted until 2025, there’s no contract-based leeway at this stage, but the Reds should certainly keep tabs on him.