Gerard Pique set to join Chelsea in January

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is set to snub a return to Manchester United in order to secure a shock transfer to Chelsea when the transfer window re-opens in January.

This is according to the Express, who cite reports in Spain as claiming that both Barcelona and Pique are only interested in negotiating with Chelsea.

This may come as a huge surprise to many. Mourinho does not have the best relationship with Barcelona - despite having previously worked for the Catalan giants - while Pique spent four of his formative years at Old Trafford before returning to the Camp Nou in 2008.

Pique frozen out of Barcelona

Pique has enjoyed immense success with Barcelona, but has been frozen out of the first team by current manager Luis Enrique this season.

Enrique dropped the Spanish World Cup winner for last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Celta Vigo, and left him on the subs’ bench during Wednesday night’s 2-0 victory over Ajax in the Champions League.

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However the 27-year-old, whose form has steadily deteriorated since the departure of Pep Guardiola, has been included in the Barcelona squad for this weekend’s trip to Almeria.

Chelsea prepared to pay more than United

Nevertheless, rumours are intensifying that Pique could leave his boyhood club in the New Year. Manchester United are weighing up a £20 million offer for the centre-back, but that’s considerably lower than Chelsea’s planned £24 million bid.

Pique may favour a move to Chelsea over Manchester United for several reasons. First of all, the Blues can offer Champions League football, while the Red Devils are out of European competition altogether and face an uphill battle to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Secondly, Chelsea are one of the strongest teams in Europe right now, and have an excellent chance of winning major honours over the forthcoming seasons.

Cesc Fabregas

And then there’s Pique’s former Barcelona teammate Cesc Fabregas, who has flourished at Stamford Bridge since completing his surprise summer move from the Camp Nou.

Pique, who currently earns £110,000-a-week at Barcelona, may also be convinced to move to London instead of Manchester by his superstar girlfriend, Shakira.

The Colombian pop star reportedly prefers the English capital to the north of the country and wants to be closer to friends that live in the city.

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