Manchester United may swoop to bring back Gerard Pique

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When he left Manchester United in 2008, Gerard Pique had failed to make an impact on the Old Trafford faithful.

If he returns six years later, the opposite will be true.

Reports have surfaced that the Barcelona defender could be on the move in January, with his old club Manchester United leading the race for his signature. Pique, 27, is apparently unhappy at Barca after finding it hard to get into the starting lineup on a regular basis this season following the arrival of Jeremy Mathieu from Valencia and the situation will get tougher with Thomas Vermaelen set to make his Barca debut in the coming weeks.

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According to the Daily Express, Pique is struggling to come to terms with life on the bench as Mathieu and Javier Mascherano have so far been the preferred center back pairing. Pique has won two UEFA Champions League titles, four La Liga crowns and two Copa Del Rey’s with Barca, plus a World Cup and two European Championships at the heart of Spain’s defense. However, this season he has played just three times and is frustrated with life on the bench after being a regular.

With Manchester United’s defensive frailties being exposed on a weekly basis in the Premier League (see 5-3 defeat to Leicester and the 4-0 League Cup loss to MK Dons) and Pique struggling to solidify his spot as a starter at Barcelona, could the powerful, ball-playing defender be on his way back to Manchester?

It all seems to add up, right? Spanish newspaper AS is claiming that Louis van Gaal has already inquired about picking up Pique in January and the player has always spoken highly about his time at United during his formative years. Pique showed plenty of promise with United but only made 23 appearances as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were in their prime at the heart of the defense. Pique came through Barca’s academy and switched to United in 2004, before being sold back to Barca for $8 million in 2008. If he went back to United now, it could cost van Gaal upward of $50 million.

Pique’s calmness on the ball and towering presence in the center of defense would be exactly what United need, so splashing the cash for him would be worth it. His best years are still ahead of him and with his past connections to the club and opportunities seemingly dwindling at the Nou Camp, could the stars be aligning to make this happen?