Pique set for crisis talks, Manchester United and Chelsea hover

Gerard Pique

Barcelona's Gerard Pique will decide on his future over the international break, paving the way for a potential move to Manchester United or Chelsea.

According to reports surfacing recently, Gerard Pique is set to put the Premier League elite on red alert as he prepares to hold showdown talks with head coach Luis Enrique.

Pique has fallen down the pecking order under the new Barcelona manager at the Camp Nou this season and is now believed to be the club's fourth-choice option at centre-back. The 27-year-old recently insisted that he wants to end his career at his boyhood club, but after being left stranded on the bench in recent games, he is now ready to take time over the international break to decide on his future.

Some of the club's senior figures see Pique as someone who should be a key player for years to come. Contracted until 2019, those who have previously managed the Catalan giants have all seen him as an important figure. Nonetheless, having spent eight years at Barca, he looks increasingly frustrated with his lack of game time, only playing six times and twice in the Champions League this season.

The Spanish international found himself dropped by Enrique for the club's Champions League clash last Wednesday, before being benched against Almeria at the weekend. Pique's relationship with the new Barca coach sunk to new depths against the latter, as Enrique made a show of sending him to warm up - despite all three substitutions having been used.

Pique's departure would prove a tremendous boost for both Manchester United and Chelsea, both of whom are believed to be keen to bring the defender back to the Premier League. Of course, he spent time at Old Trafford in the early stages of his career, but now he is believed to favour a move to London with Chelsea, where he would be reunited with fellow Catalan Cesc Fabregas. 

United are, undoubtedly, in greater need of the Spaniard's services. Louis van Gaal has been forced to persist with a less than ideal back-line over the course of the season and Pique's arrival in January would go a long way to solving the club's deficiencies in this department. 

With a top-four finish the aim, the addition of a defensive leader is imperative in the New Year. While Pique may be considered an unrealistic target by some, Louis van Gaal requires players of the two-time Champions League winner's calibre if he wishes to fulfill his lofty ambitions. 

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