Date: 27th May 2008 at 6:39pm
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Gerard Pique has agreed a deal to re-join Barcelona after playing 23 games in 4 years at Manchester United.

The Catalan defender was signed from Barcelona at a nominal fee in 2004 and though he was always regarded as a bright prospect, his chances of holding down a first-team place appeared incredibly slim as the Vidic-Ferdinand partnership was flourishing.

Pique did not demand first-team football, did not make unsavoury comments in the press (not yet anyway) but it was clear he wanted to play more. I can’t blame him for leaving though we did not get much for him – the reported fee is 5 million euros, approximately 3 million in GBP.

However, I’m a little bit surprised that he opted for Barcelona. Granted, it’s his first club, he will feel home there – but he might find his playing opportunities as limited as here. Carles Puyol, Rafa Marquez and if the rumours prove true, Juan: they will be all ahead of him in the pecking order.

Yet I hope he will oust them all and establish himself as the leading centre-back of the Catalan club. He is talented, he can cut it against top class opposition – we saw that against Arsenal this season – but he would have never been more than defensive cover at United.

All the best for the future, Gerard, and goodbye!