Barcelona continues to pursue Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in a bid to lure him back to the Camp Nou.
He arrived at the Etihad Stadium three years ago from Barcelona’s world-famous La Masia academy, and the Catalan giants are eyeing him as a long term successor to Gerard Pique.
The move would see Garcia follow a similar journey to the man he could eventually replace. Pique joined Manchester United in 2004, before returning to Barcelona again in 2008, and his success might well have some influence on the young Spaniard’s future plans.
Despite seemingly working his way ahead of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, Garcia will be mindful of the recent arrival of Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake. Whilst Kalidou Koulibaly also continues to be linked to the Citizens.
If Koulibaly does join, you can’t help but feel Garcia could end up being as low as a 4th choice centre half for the coming season.
In July, manager Pep Guardiola had made it clear though that the club wanted Garcia to stay;
“We are going to try to convince him to stay here for many, many, many years.”
“I’m confident he will stay but at the end of the day it’s his decision. He knows we want him.”
More recently however, Guardiola discussed Garcia in a press conference ahead of the Champions League game against Real Madrid, “He announced to us he doesn’t want to extend his contract with City, he has one more year and then after that, he doesn’t want to extend.”
So why should Man City try to convince him to stay?
Understanding of Man City’s style of play
Garcia featured 13 times for City in the Premier League last year and was particularly impressive after the break in the season.
He also started in City’s Champion’s League quarter-final clash with Lyon. Highlighting the trust that Guardiola has in him and proving he understands how his manager wants the team to play.
Any new signing will surely take some time to fit in and understand their role within whichever system Pep chooses to adopt. In Garcia however, they already have someone who is moulded into this style of play.
Balance at the back
Despite the signing of Nathan Ake, many believe Aymeric Laporte is still first choice to start, pundits have questioned whether two left-footed centre-halves can start together.
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher wrote on social media, “I like Nathan Ake and I think he will suit Man City, but with Laporte a guaranteed starter I’m not convinced two left-footed centre-backs works?”
In the 5 of the 6 games, the right-footed Garcia started with Laporte, the pair kept a clean sheet. The two standouts being against F.A Cup winners Arsenal in a 3-0 home win and the 4-0 home win over premier League Champions Liverpool.