Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is planning to hijack Manchester United's much-rumoured £20 million move for Barcelona defender and former Red Devil Gerard Pique, according to the Daily Express.
Pique had been identified as viable January transfer target by United boss Louis van Gaal, a player who has been dropped on three occasions already this season by new Barcelona boss Luis Enrique.
United believed they were in pole position to sign the Spanish international thanks to a relationship with Van Gaal that dates back to his time at the Camp Nou, but try telling that to Jose Mourinho.
Pique deal would be similar to Mourinho's move for Fabregas
Mourinho is the ultimate pragmatist in terms of the transfer market and has already shown he's willing to raid Barcelona for top talent in the last six months, with a £27m move for Cesc Fabregas that continues to look like an astonishingly good piece of business.
Pique is currently going through a similar campaign to the one endured by Fabregas at Barca last season, still a first-team feature but certainly not one of the first-team squad's most important figures.
FIFA agent Francois Gallardo certainly believes Chelsea have a genuine interest in the 27-year-old, quoted by the Express as revealing: "The player is angry and Barca are open to his departure.
"He could end up at Manchester United or Chelsea."
John Terry's replacement?
Chelsea are under no illusions that despite John Terry's magnificent form over the last 12 months they need a new central defender in the long-term, perhaps Pique can fit the bill.
Matching Pique's current €7m-a-year (€135,000) salary would not be a problem for Chelsea, who currently only have Kurt Zouma and with a shift in positions Branislav Ivanovic as back-up to Terry and Gary Cahill.
Could Cesc hold key to deal?
Fabregas could certainly feed back to his former La Maisa mate that life in West London is good, enjoying a near-flawless return to the Premier League that's put Barca's decision to part ways with the playmaker under scrutiny.
Barca are reportedly open to moving Pique on if the price is right over the next two transfer windows, despite their ban, so it's now up to Mourinho or Van Gaal to persuade the vastly-experienced defender he needs a fresh challenge.
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