FC Barcelona V RCD Mallorca - La Liga
Gerard Pique looks set for an awkward season ahead at Barcelona (Picture: Getty Images)

Barcelona manager Xavi has told Gerard Pique he is not in his first team plans next season and has encouraged him to leave the club, although the veteran defender is keen to stay where he is.

The 35-year-old remains under contract until 2024 and Spanish publication SPORT report that Barca owe him around €40m (£34.6m) in deferred payments.

Nevertheless, Xavi has told the centre-back that he is no longer needed and has suggested leaving this summer, leaving some of the money he is owed on the table.

It is not, reportedly, a financial decision, with the Barca boss worried about Pique’s ability to stay fit for a whole season and that he is distracted with a number of business interests.

The former Manchester United player does not want to leave and has moved to reassure his manager than he can stay fit and remain focused on the club, but Xavi remains unconvinced.

Real Betis V Fc Barcelona - Liga Santander
Xavi no longer has faith in the veteran defender (Picture: Getty Images)

Player and club appear to be at a stalemate, though, with Pique refusing to be forced out and SPORT rate his chances of staying this season at 99 per cent.

The Spain international remained an important part of the team last season, making 40 appearances in all competitions and scoring three goals.

However, Xavi wants to replace him with a younger model, with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde mooted as a possible replacement for Pique, although Chelsea are also keen on the Frenchman.

MORE : Arsenal hero Charlie Nicholas urges Manchester United to sign Barcelona star and tips Donny van de Beek for ‘major’ role under Erik ten Hag

MORE : Andreas Christensen basically confirms Barcelona move after Chelsea exit

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