Joe Pedro is used to late drama, on and off the pitch. At Wigan, his 87th-minute header winner saw his star rise even higher. It’s higher now than when Newcastle failed to lure him with just a few hours remaining in the summer transfer window.

2 months later, Athleticism describes in more detail this late offer, the new agreement that followed and watfordthe plans of the 21-year-old who has the key to the door and a valuation that now exceeds £30million premier league offered side.


When Joao Pedro’s new contract was announced on September 23, it came with a bang. Not just because it broke Watford’s long silence on public discussions of changes to player contracts, but because they felt it was a statement of intent after interest from Newcastle and that it extended until 2028.

Due to the club’s secrecy over contract deals over the past few seasons, fans would have been forgiven for thinking he had extended his original five-year deal – signed in 2020 when he joined Fluminense – for another three years. But after his last campaign in the Championship, the 2020-21 season, he was rewarded with two more years – taking it until 2027.

This meant that his most recent new contract was only a one-year extension. Less on the duration, more on the protection of the star of the club.

Six years – from 2022 – was ultimately all the club could stretch, but there were more critical improvements than just another twelve months. The terms included a base salary increase and greater rewards for achieving goal and appearance goals in addition to earning promotion and international recognition. Although everyone has their price, Watford insist there is no release clause in the contract.

The premise of the new deal was also to remove the possibility of a January departure and ensure he would remain a central figure in the promotion. His fourth of the season at DW Stadium saw him score in consecutive league games for only the third time in his career at Watford, and the first time since February 2021. Hope is his season, which has been hampered by a recent injury, will accelerate by then, the world Cup and beyond.

When his new contract was announced last month, the club’s official press release referred to ‘rumors’ and ‘intense transfer speculation’ surrounding the 21-year-old during the transfer window. That doesn’t paint a really accurate picture. Athleticism can confirm that Newcastle’s attempts to sign Joao Pedro went straight to the wire and were more than hearsay.

The Premier League club – which offered £30m ($34.8m) earlier in the window – came back with a final bid on the morning of deadline day with sporting director Dan Ashworth embroiled in negotiations with the Watford hierarchy. Newcastle’s Chris Wood was discussed as a heavyweight in the deal, but due to the late nature of the proposal, Watford never seriously considered it.

Wood’s agent insists the move was never a possibility. Earlier in the window, Eddie Howe was keen to keep Wood, although it was clear bringing in another striker had the potential to change the dynamics of the situation.

On the last day, Watford had decided not to sell Joao Pedro, after meeting with the player and his representatives. Approving the situation, the Brazilian posted a statement on Instagram on deadline day, shortly after Newcastle’s latest attempt. “I am very happy here. I love being at Watford and I want to do more with them,” he said. “I spoke to the board yesterday (the day before the deadline) and am fully committed to the club and looking forward to a successful season.”

It is unclear whether Newcastle have fully evolved, but the form of Miguel Almironand the general uprising at St James’ Park, may dilute the chances of a comeback in future windows.

The potential move to Newcastle was first offered the day after the 0-0 draw with Preston on August 20, which coincided with AstonVillathe pursuit of Ismaila Sarr. Both players were dropped from the starting line-up to play Deepdale at the last minute after then-head coach Rob Edwards prepared for the game with them. Although Edwards praised the professionalism of both players at the time, it is known that he was frustrated that news of the Brazilian’s absence through injury leaked before the game, which he said , could have given Preston a competitive edge.

“It didn’t destabilize me because I was always cold. I just wanted to see what would happen, but I knew what happened would be best for me,” the Brazilian said of the Deepdale incident.

While Sarr’s departure to Villa Park seemed more likely at this stage, Watford wanted to stay firm on Joao Pedro and over the following week. Athleticism was informed that he would be offered a new deal and that he would not leave. Newcastle turned their attention elsewhere and signed Alexander Isak, even if they came back for one last bite of the cherry. When Sarr’s transfer to Aston Villa fell apart, it meant that if no one else came for the Senegalese, perhaps Watford should have considered letting Joao Pedro leave to help balance the post-relegation books.

In the end, both stayed, although only one signed a new contract. Sarr, who will be Watford’s only player at the World Cup if he stays fit, still won’t commit to a longer-term stay with just 18 months on contract.

It took three weeks after the deadline for Joao Pedro to accept his deal. The general premise was that, if promoted, which is easier said than done, he will hope to stay at Vicarage Road for another Premier League chance next season. If he and the team can avoid a third consecutive relegation from the top division, then maybe it’s time to sell. At this point, the amount of the release has the potential to be well above the £30m offered this summer.

“He has everything,” said Watford head coach Slaven Bilic. “He’s Brazilian, he’s got that flair, he’s sharp, he’s fast, he’s strong and can use his body, he can play in different positions and (his goal against Wigan) is the goal of a centre-forward.

It’s the kind of goal that becomes a habit, reminiscent of the header he managed at St James’ Park last season.

The plan for Joao Pedro is now similar to the one they came up with for Sarr. He stayed after the 2020-21 season, but it didn’t work out. With greater protection, in terms of contract length, Watford hope to do well on this one. With new investments on the horizon tooit is perhaps no coincidence that Watford wanted to stick a flag on their Brazilian superstar when announcing his new contract.

(Photo: Mike Morese/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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