Friday, February 23, 2024

Barcelona target Pique in overhaul (SN)

Barcelona vice-chairman Marc Ingla and technical secretary Txiki Begiristain on Monday promised a “full overhaul” and said that they were set to land Manchester United's Spanish defender Gerard Pique.

“There will be a full overhaul, which has started with the coach,” the pair revealed ten days after Champions League-winning coach from 2006 Frank Rijkaard gave way to Josep Guardiola.

“We will have a dream team which will raise expectations,” they insisted.

Guardiola, 37, will have “control of the dressing room,” according to Begiristain. “he must feel the dressing room is behind him.”

Last season there were occasional signs that all was not well in the Barca changing room with reports of ego clashes and the team eventually won nothing for the second year in a row.

Ingla said the club had a solid financial base which would allow proper “renovation.”

Begiristain said that Barca were in “very advanced” talks for Pique, just 21, and that these would conclude after Wednesday's Champions League final between United and Chelsea in Moscow.

Among those headed for the Nou Camp exit are Brazilian World Cup winner Edmilson and France 1998 World Cup champion Lilian Thuram while chairman Joan Laporta said on Sunday that fading star Ronaldinho needed a “new challenge.”

Others who may yet leave as the 2006 European champions are dismantled are Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o and Portuguese international Deco, although French striker Thierry Henry, who had a mixed first season after his move from Arsenal, is set to stay put.


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