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TRANSFER TALK: 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.

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.”

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.

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