Newcastle United prepare fresh bid for £35m valued forward as manager gives intriguing verdict

Watford manager Rob Edwards has discussed the future of Newcastle United transfer target Joao Pedro.

The 20-year-old forward has been the subject of a £20million bid made by Newcastle which has been rejected by Watford.

The Magpies are now preparing to make an improved offer for the player with Eddie Howe keen to strengthen his options in attack. Watford value the player at £35million but Newcastle are hoping to secure him for considerably less than that.

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Joao Pedro is understood to ‘tick a lot of boxes’ for United in terms of what they are looking for at this moment in time. The Brazilian is versatile, has Premier League experience, plenty of potential and is an alternative option to Callum Wilson and Chris Wood in attack who wouldn’t take up a place in the club’s 25-man squad due to him being under-21.

Joao Pedro of Watford FC celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on January 15, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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He played 90 minutes in Watford’s 1-1 draw at Birmingham City on Tuesday night and has scored once in four Championship appearances for The Hornets so far this season.

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Following the match, Edwards addressed the player’s future.

“Joao Pedro is already a very good player, I think he’s going to be an excellent footballer,” Edwards told The Athletic.

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“I do believe this is the right place for him at the moment. I think he would really benefit from playing a full season with us and obviously helping the football club to where we want to be.

“I think he can play a huge part in that. I think he’s fully committed to that. He’s so mature for a young age and he understands what he needs to do as well.”

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Joao Pedro scored three goals in 15 Premier League starts for Watford last season and made a further 13 appearances as a substitute.

The youngster scored a late equaliser at St James's Park back in January as The Hornets held Newcastle to a 1-1 draw.

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Following the match, Watford sat two points ahead of Newcastle in the Premier League table with a game in hand. But the match proved to be something of a catalyst for The Magpies as they proceeded to win 12 of their final 18 matches to finish 11th in the table – 26 points clear of relegated Watford.

Despite now playing in the Championship, Edwards insists Joao Pedro is ‘fully focused’ on his current club.

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“With him, you wouldn’t know anything was going on at all, he’s fully focused on his job and fully focused on playing for this football club,” he added.

"I think you could see that, probably one or two little bits I’d expect him to be slightly better in at the top end of the pitch, but I thought his commitment and some of the stuff he did was first class.

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“The amazing thing about Joao is he’s so intelligent, I can play him in different areas of the pitch and he still finds a way to influence the game even when we went 4-4-2 at the end to really try and push, put him out on the right and he still finds the right spaces and trying to create.

“Joao is fully committed on the here and now and obviously he can’t control anything that happens externally so he’s dealing with everything very, very well.”