Pique won’t leave Barcelona
Barcelona central defender Gerard Pique has said that he will never play for another team, because it would create a ‘drama’ to leave. Pique was reported as saying: I play football because I'm representing Barca. "I don't see myself on another team. I wouldn't have the motivation, it would be a drama.” The 34-year-old Spanish international has a contract that runs until 2024, and would be 37 by the time his contract comes to an end. The Daily Mail reports that he has no intention of cutting short his time in Catalonia to move elsewhere.
Paper Round’s view: Some clubs represent more than just the side itself, and while that is the case for more than just Barcelona, it remains the case that the history of the club is entangled with their Catalan move for independence in Spain. For Pique that appears to hold an especially large place in his heart so it seems that he would find it hard to move on elsewhere.
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Barcelona set Neto asking price
Barcelona are prepared to sell their reserve goalkeeper Neto, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. They report that the 31-year-old Brazilian has handed in a transfer request after finding games hard to come by ahead of first-choice stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Any move will be rubber-stamped by a new director of football, but he is likely to be available for 15 million euros.
Paper Round’s view: Ter Stegen is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe and is at an age, 28, where he could conceivably remain at his best for the best part of another decade. Neto is a competent alternative but with a few years left of his career it makes sense that he moves on to see more regular first team action before retirement brings his time on the pitch to a close.
Umtiti rejects Liverpool
The Daily Star claims that Barcelona central defender Samuel Umtiti was on Liverpool’s short list to strengthen their squad at the back, but the Frenchman turned them down. The 27-year-old defender is aiming to fight his way back into the first team under Ronald Koeman, even though the Spanish side will aim to get rid of him in the summer transfer window.
Paper Round’s view: If Umtiti is content at Barcelona as opposed to Liverpool, then it’s fair to say that he is not solely motivated by the chance to win trophies, as Jurgen Klopp’s side seem far more likely to do that than Barca. However it is not unreasonable for Umtiti not to want to move midway through the season, particularly to a country that is suffering hugely from the coronavirus.
Shawcross set for Inter Miami move
Inter Miami are understood to be in negotiations with Stoke City to sign their 33-year-old central defender Ryan Shawcross. The former Manchester United player has struggled for game time since breaking his leg in 2019 and could be set to move to Miami to link up with two other former United stars, Phil Neville and David Beckham. The Sun states that the transfer window remains open for MLS clubs.
Paper Round’s view: Shawcross missed out on a move to a big team when he was at his peak and so perhaps he sees a move to Miami as a way to both extend his career, but also to add some glamour before he has to retire. MLS is an easier league than the Championship and it might offer him a way to wind down in his final years as a player before calling time.