Manchester United hero Paul Scholes has cast his doubts over Gerard Pique’s potential return to the club, stating that he’s unsure if the Spain international has what it takes to adapt to the English game.
The classy centre-back, who has been hotly linked with a return to the Premier League via either United or Chelsea, has fallen out of favour at Barcelona since the arrival of Luis Enrique, but Scholes believes his former teammate should resist coming back to England as he doesn’t suit the style anymore.
"I have always thought that Spanish football, and Barcelona in particular, suits him best," Scholes wrote in his column for The Independent.
"His success at Barcelona and with Spain has been incredible. But I think Gerard would find it harder back in the Premier League."
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"But I think Gerard would find it harder back in the Premier League"
Scholes’s comments come in spite of the fact that Pique spent four seasons at United, honing his craft under the watchful eyes of Sir Alex Ferguson. The 27-year-old was then transferred to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side, and became a linchpin one of the greatest club outfits ever seen along with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
However, since the arrival of Enrique there seems to have been a shift in emphasis at the Nou Camp, and the retirement of the long-serving Carles Puyol in the summer appears to have detrimentally affected Pique’s ability to perform.
At the moment it’s the partnership of the young Marc Bartra and summer signing Jeremy Mathieu that the Blaugrana boss favours, with Javier Mascherano dropping into the heart of the defence when either is missing.
On top of that Thomas Vermaelen is yet to make his debut for the senior team, having arrived from Arsenal before the end of the summer transfer window. When he eventually does make his return from a lengthy injury he will add yet more competition to Barca’s squad, and Pique could find himself under increasing duress.
If he does then there’s every reason to believe he’ll seek an exit; particularly if his services are being sought by other superpowers around Europe. Though it’s been rumoured that he is keen to finish his career in Catalonia it might be tempting for him to return to his old haunt of Old Trafford.
The Red Devils’ back-line has been woeful at the start of this season, and the general consensus is that a natural leader needs to be introduced in order to bring them back up to speed.
Speculation recently has inferred that Van Gaal would be open to the idea of bringing back Nemanja Vidic only a few months after United saw him leave, but Pique could be a far wiser investment in the long run.