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Liverpool, Barcelona And Man City All Set Eyes On Brazilian Sensation João Pedro

He might make his first start of the season at the weekend as Liverpool travel to face Claudio Ranieri’s side, having appeared twice off the bench (against Newcastle for 26 minutes and then against Leeds for 31 minutes) so far.

Watford agreed an initial £2m fee for Pedro in 2019 (with around another £7m or so in add-ons) and then needed to wait for him to be eligible for a work permit before he could make the move the following year.

But reports at the time suggested there might have been a clause in deal that would have pushed that up to £20m should another club look to sign him too.

Watford were convinced that would not be the case, but there were plenty of eyes on the attacker, and it is not hard to see why.

South American football expert Tim Vickery once said he reminded him of a young Roque Santa Cruz, while Liverpool scout Dassler Marques reportedly watched on as Pedro scored his first professional hat-trick in 2019.

That was part of a run of goals that Pedro scored as he emerged at the age of 17, and it was not long before he was setting his sights on much bigger things.

“I think every kid of my age wants big things, to play for big clubs in Europe, in the Champions League, become world champions with Brazilian side, win the Ballon D’Or,” Pedro said at the time. “I have to keep working to see if I can reach all my goals.”

Richarlison, who also played for Watford having arrived from Brazil, says Pedro ‘will go far’ and is already backing him for bigger things.

While Pedro’s talent has been fairly well hidden so far, at a club where the spotlight is not as bright as elsewhere and having not yet made a major impact in the Premier League, that won’t remain the case for long.

“It has worked out but it has been a funny one in that there was a lot of talk about him going to a far bigger club, with Barcelona, Man City and Liverpool all linked,” Twenty3’s Tom Bodell told Liverpool.com via the latest podcast exclusively for Blood Red Club members.

“There was some talk at the time that those clubs were trying to get Fluminense to break their agreement with Watford or for Watford to sell him to them before he had even set foot in England.

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“He arrived in January of 2020 when Watford were mired in a relegation battle and he was not a player who suited a Nigel Pearson team — he was used very, very sparingly.

“I went to his debut against Tranmere in the FA Cup where he looked quite handy, but you thought there was still a lot of work to do there.

“In a funny kind of way, going down to the Championship has worked out well for him because it has toughened him up — if ever there is trouble, he is the first one piling in to say his piece.

“He scored some fantastic goals last season but he also scored some really scrappy poacher’s goals and he is really developing into an all-round centre-forward who can thrive in this country.

“He has been injured this season so far — he was back on the bench for the Newcastle and Leeds just prior to the international break — but it is going to be very interesting to see how he handles the Premier League.

“He is a really interesting one and he is only 20 still, so he is still very young.”

Pedro signed a contract extension for another two years earlier this year, with that taking his current deal to 2027.

That followed him scoring nine goals in 40 appearances in his first full season with Watford last year, while also providing five assists in the Championship.

Pedro is understood to be impressing off the pitch too, with both an English teacher and personal trainer living with him in his home — something that can only help his development and would only impress Liverpool further.

If Europe’s biggest clubs, including Liverpool, were watching him in Brazil, they will no doubt be continuing to monitor his progress, not least assessing how he manages the step up to the top-flight.

That process might well begin on Saturday when Liverpool come to town.

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