Have Liverpool found the perfect replacement for Raheem Sterling in Barcelona's Pedro?

Pedro Rodriguez

Barcelona's Pedro has been linked with a move to Liverpool.

According to Catalan news outlet Sport, Arsenal and Liverpool are showing a strong interest in out-of-favour Barcelona and Spanish international midfielder Pedro, with both clubs having made official contact with the player’s representative.

The report suggests that, despite giving him a new contract last month, the La Liga champions are open to selling the 27-year-old after seeing him slip down the pecking order at the Camp Nou. However, with four years remaining on his current deal, their valuation is unlikely to be cheap. 

Pedro made 35 appearances in La Liga last season, 20 of which came from the bench, as the terrific trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez restricted him to a bit-part role on the sidelines. Nonetheless, despite a lack of game-time, he managed to score six goals and create 25 chances in league action.

With Raheem Sterling expected, as per reports in the Daily Mirror, to leave the club at some stage this summer, Pedro would offer Liverpool a ready-made replacement for the Englishman, if not an upgrade. A player who possesses great speed and an eye for goal on either wing, he would easily fill the void left by the departure of the 20-year-old Englishman - a notion that the statistics support.

Despite playing half as many minutes as Sterling last term, Pedro scored just one goal fewer - averaging a successful strike every 258 minutes, compared to a goal from the Liverpool man every 435 minutes. Furthermore, despite fashioning fewer chances per ninety minutes - 1.10 to Sterling's 2.01 - he was able to assist his team-mates more regularly - 0.35 per appearance to Sterling's 0.21. 

In terms of the duo's composure in possession, the comparisons reveal further victories for the Spanish international. Not only does Pedro boast a significantly superior pass completion rate - 87% to Sterling's 81% - but he has also experienced greater success in his dribbling - 52.50% to Sterling's 49.52% - albeit by only the smallest of margins. 

As the stats suggest, Pedro would represent an upgrade to Raheem Sterling, but Liverpool will face a significant battle for his signature with Arsenal also lurking. Hopefully for the Anfield faithful, Brendan Rodgers has learnt a thing or two from when he missed on Alexis Sanchez last term, otherwise a similar situation could occur for the second summer running.

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