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Gerard Pique’s contract at Barcelona could be terminated next summer, thanks to a clause in his contract, with manager Xavi already lining up his replacement.
There's a lot of talk about clauses at the Nou Camp this season, thanks to Antoine Griezmann, who is currently in the second season of a two-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid.
It stipulates that if the French forward plays more than 45 minutes in more than 50% of games, then Atletico are contractually bound to pay £35m to sign him permanently.
This has led to Griezmann’s game time being largely limited to substitute appearances from the 60th minute onwards this campaign, and could eventually see him move away from Atleti.
However, he's not the only one whose future rests on a playing clause, with Pique, who is currently unhappy with how much football he's playing, also reliant on one.
The 35-year-old defender, playing in his 15th season with the Catalan giants, has a deal that runs until 2024 but the Catalan giants have the option of cancelling the contract a year early if he features in less than 35% of the games this season, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Rumours of Pique’s potential departure, however, are reportedly fuelled by Barca’s desire to help alleviate their recent financial woes, with the former Manchester United player being one of the team’s top earners.
Fifth on Barcelona’s all-time appearances list with 608, Pique has become a fringe player during Xavi’s tenure. So far this season, he has featured just once in LaLiga – playing the full 90 minutes against Cadiz – and once in the Champions League, coming on a half-time substitute in the 5-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen.
The report also claims Xavi, a former teammate of Pique, is already planning on bringing in Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez as his replacement.
The Barca boss is believed to be an admirer of the 31-year-old’s playing style as well as the fact he is left footed, a profile the club appear to be lacking given their current crop of centre backs - Pique, Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Andreas Christensen and Eric Garcia – are all right footed.
Barcelona reportedly failed with a £12 million bid for Martinez in the most recent transfer window but the defender is out of contract next summer.
Bilbao are keen to extend the Spanish international’s stay in the Basque Country, however, his future remains uncertain.
Earliest this month, when asked about the possibility of renewing his current deal, Martinez said: “I don't think I need to answer that question now.
“It is something that is in the hands of the club and my representative.”
Pique isn't the only player who Xavi is attempting to get out of the club, with manager reportedly hoping to replace all four of the team's captains this summer.
The four times Champions League winner may have played with all of them but is showing no room for sentiment in his team, and wants to bring in a new era at Barca.