Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has sought council from mentor Pep Guardiola during a difficult time for the Spanish international, who continues to be the subject of intense transfer speculation thanks to mounting frustration over his lack of first-team action.
Pique has been a regular bench warmer since Luis Enrique took charge at the Camp Nou, a worrying turn of events for a star who has been accustomed to playing a pivotal role each and every week for club and country.
Manchester United and Chelsea look best placed to offer the £110,000-a-week centre-back a lifeline when the January transfer window opens, but its fair to speculate that Bayern Munich boss Guardiola may well be interested following their embrace on Sunday afternoon.
Was Pique's future on the agenda?
Guardiola was back in Barcelona last weekend to cast his vote in the unofficial referendum on Catalan independence and took the opportunity to meet Pique and his partner Shakira outside his home.
With Pique going through such a rough patch you have to think it's only natural that he'd seek council from the man who helped shape what's been a fantastic professional career to date, but neither will have been particularly happy with the image spreading like wildfire on social media.
January exit would be understandable
Pique probably reached his lowest ebb of a difficult season last weekend, after being told to warm up by Enrique, only to be sat back down in humiliating fashion as Xavi Hernandez was preferred as Barca's final sub instead.
The Daily Mail believe the 27-year-old will be given a fresh start by Enrique after the international break, although it remains to be seen if he'll give into the wishes of Barca fans and move Javier Mascherano into midfield and put Pique back in his starting XI.
Manchester United and Arsenal in particular look woefully short of cover in Pique's position heading towards a pivotal January window, but will Guardiola's pep talk have had any impact on a potential top transfer target's long-term future?
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