Manchester United to bid for Gerard Pique

Manchester United plot bid for Gerard Pique (©GettyImages)

Manchester United are plotting a surprise £20 million bid for Barcelona centre-back Gerard Pique, who has emerged as Louis van Gaal’s number one transfer target.

This is according to the Daily Star, who understand that United officials are confident of luring the Spanish World Cup winner back to Old Trafford. The 27-year-old spent four of his formative years with the Red Devils before returning to the Camp Nou in 2008 for £5 million.

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United source confirms Van Gaal's interest

A United source confirmed to Starsport: "The manager knows he still needs to strengthen his defence and he would love to sign Pique.

"He is a former United player so he knows the club and Pique is a player he can build his defence around. Signing him from Barcelona won't be easy though."

Question marks over Pique's status at Barcelona

While Pique has started in Barcelona’s previous two matches - against Rayo Vallecano and Eibar - he was left out in the two matches prior to that, against Granada and the crucial Champions League group stage clash against Paris Saint-Germain, leading to questions being asked about the defender’s future.

Pique, though, insists that his heart belongs in Barcelona - and he wants to stay with his boyhood club for as long as possible. He recently told reporters: "You never know what the future holds, but right now, I love this city, I love the people in the club, and most importantly, I love the institution. I don't see myself leaving."

United must offer Pique a pay-rise

The Spain international currently earns around £110,000-a-week at the Camp Nou, so United would need to offer him a considerable pay rise to convince him to return to Old Trafford, where he endured frustration as a youngster.

Pique made a total of 23 appearances for the Red Devils, but struggled for first-team opportunities because of the rock-solid defensive partnership comprised of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Pique would eventually head back to Barcelona before landing his hands of every major trophy - including four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues - while cementing his status as one of European football’s best centre-backs in the process.

Van Gaal's other options & Shakira

With Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels seemingly off limits - and Ron Vlaar and Ryan Shawcross, of Aston Villa and Stoke City, not at the same world-class level - Van Gaal has turned his attention to Pique as he looks to recruit a top-level centre-back to partner Phil Jones.

But United officials may also need to convince the player’s superstar partner, Shakira, that Pique should come back to Manchester. The Colombian singer is reportedly unconvinced that a return to England is in the family’s best interests.

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