Barcelona ‘can terminate Gerard Pique’s contract next summer if he does not play in 35% of matches this season’… with boss Xavi ‘planning to replace the veteran defender with Athletic Bilbao’s Inigo Martinez’
- Gerard Pique, 35, has a contract at Barcelona until the summer of 2024
- However, the Catalan giants could reportedly release the defender a year early
- Pique has become a fringe player and has featured just once in LaLiga this term
- Xavi is keen on Athletic Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez because he is left-footed
Gerard Pique will reportedly leave Barcelona next summer if he does not play in 35% of matches this season.
The veteran centre-back has a contract at the Nou Camp until 2024, but Barca are keen to see him leave because he has become a fringe player but remains the highest earner in the squad.
The Catalan giants continue to battle financial difficulties after a summer of heavy spending and need to slash their wage bill.
Gerard Pique has a contract at Barcelona until the summer of 2024 but could leave earlier
The 35-year-old has become a fringe player and has featured just once in LaLiga this term
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona will have the option of terminating Pique’s contract one year early if he features in less than 35% of games this term.
Taking into account league fixtures, domestic cup ties and European matches, the club are likely to play between 50 to 55 games this season – meaning Pique can play no more than approximately 19 times if Barca want to see him leave next summer.
So far, the 35-year-old has featured just once in LaLiga – playing the full 90 minutes against Cadiz – and came on as a half-time substitute against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League.
Barcelona also inserted a clause based on percentage of games played in Antoine Griezmann’s two-year loan deal at Atletico Madrid.
Xavi is reportedly keen to replace Pique with Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez
The agreement stipulates that if the forward plays more than 45 minutes in more than 50% of games, then Atletico are contractually bound to pay £35million to sign him permanently.
It has led to a farcical situation where Griezmann is mostly being limited to substitute appearances from the 60th minute onwards.
Mundo Deportivo also claim that if Pique does leave, Xavi is keen to replace him with Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez.
The Barcelona boss is said to favour Martinez, 31, because he is a left-footed centre-back
Barca reportedly failed with a £12million bid for the 31-year-old last month but he is out of contract in the Basque Country next summer.
Martinez is left-footed, which is said to appeal to Xavi as his current centre-back options are all right-footed – Pique, Ronald Araujo, Jule Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia.
Pique has previously suggested that he would retire if he became a back up at the Nou Camp and has no desire to play for any other club.
The Spaniard is fifth on Barcelona’s all-time leading appearances list with 608 to his name and has won eight LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues during his time at the club.