Gerard Pique benched again as transfer rumours gather pace

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has found himself out of the starting lineup again this evening, as rumours gather pace that he could be set for a move to Manchester United or Chelsea.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Barca boss Luis Enrique has decided to keep Pique on the bench for tonight's match against Ajax in Amsterdam despite Jeremy Mathieu's absence through injury.

Reports in Spain claim that Manchester United and Chelsea have both submitted bids to Barcelona for the centre-back, ranging between £20m and £24m.

Spanish paper AS posed the question before Barca took on Ajax, is Gerard Pique's Barcelona now over?

He was axed from the squad at the weekend as the Spanish giants lost 1-0 to Celta Vigo at the Nou Camp after it was reported that he was seen using his phone on the substitutes bench during the Catalan Super Cup.

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Enrique is clearly not a fan and opted to go with Marc Bartra at the back alongside Javier Mascherano against the Dutch opponents in the Champions Leageu.

Premier League giants Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are on all red alert and would happily take the Spaniard if he did indeed become available in the January transfer window.

The 27-year-old is a former-United player of course, having signed from Barcelona as a teenager before returning four years later.

Premier League interest

United have an obvious need for a player of Pique's experience and quality at the back, as Louis van Gaal has been left scratching his head at some of his players' defensive displays.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho would love to get one over on Barcelona and the Blues will soon need to think about replacing John Terry. The Stamford Bridge club could easily afford Pique's sizeable wages and the fee required to extricate him from the Nou Camp.

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