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Barcelona’s Gerard Pique wanted by Atletico Madrid?

Barcelona’s Gerard Pique wanted by Atletico Madrid?

Atletico Madrid have reportedly emerged as contenders to sign out-of-favour Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique.

The former Manchester United man has only been a bit-part player in the team under Xavi this season, making just one appearance in La Liga and another in the Champions League.

The arrivals of Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde have pushed Pique down the pecking order, while Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo are also preferred in the heart of defence.

Despite Barcelona’s defensive acquisitions over the summer, Pique supposedly wanted to stay and fight for his place at Camp Nou, but he is currently losing that selection battle.

The 35-year-old’s contract in Catalonia still has just under two years left to run, but there is an expectation that he will end his trophy-laden stint with Barcelona at the end of the season, and the club can supposedly cancel his existing terms if he features in less than 35% of La Blaugrana’s matches this term.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique warms up on September 10, 2022© Reuters

According to OK Diario, Atletico boss Diego Simeone is determined to secure a January deal for Pique, whom he believes would be a smart signing for the heart of his defence.

The report adds that Simeone has been left dissatisfied with Mario Hermoso, Felipe and Stefan Savic‘s performances, while Jose Gimenez‘s injury record is a concern.

As a result, Pique would be tempted to end his stint at Camp Nou and head for the Spanish capital, and his broken relationship with Xavi is now said to be irreparable.

Pique played 44 minutes of his side’s opening 5-1 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen, but he was then relegated to the bench for his side’s 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

The Spain international was supposedly heard complaining about his lack of minutes by Xavi after that game, to which the Barca boss responded: “And you are going to play even less now.”

Gerard Pique in action for Barcelona on July 26, 2022© Reuters

Barcelona and Atletico are said to enjoy a strong relationship due to previous transfer dealings, although there has been tension between the two clubs surrounding the Antoine Griezmann saga.

Atletico boss Simeone is largely refusing to give the 31-year-old more than 30 minutes in matches this term due to a supposed clause in his loan deal, as the Rojiblancos would automatically re-sign Griezmann for £35m if he plays 45 minutes in 50% of his side’s games.

However, Barcelona and Atletico are understood to be trying to find an amicable solution before the Blaugrana take the matter to court, and negotiations over a €25m (£22.3m) January deal are thought to be in progress.

Pique’s name could therefore be mentioned in winter negotiations, although the veteran centre-back could be presented with more opportunities in the coming weeks following injuries to Araujo and Kounde.

Kounde sustained a knock while on international duty with France, and Araujo is set for several weeks on the sidelines after Barcelona confirmed that the Uruguay international would need surgery on a thigh problem.

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