Pep Guardiola caught many by surprise after Manchester City’s Carabao Cup final victory over Tottenham as he announced that Eric Garcia is set to join Barcelona on a free transfer.
Garcia has made just two starts in the Premier League this season and was left out of Guardiola’s squad altogether this weekend as City claimed their fourth straight League Cup thanks to Aymeric Laporte’s late header at Wembley.
The 20-year-old centre-back, who has been capped seven times by the Spain national team, is said to have grown frustrated by a lack of regular game-time at the Etihad and City’s attempts to tie him down with an extension have been unsuccessful.
Garcia rose through Barca’s academy ranks before joining City in 2017 and Guardiola – speaking at his post-match press conference – appeared to confirm that the defender will return to the Nou Camp when his contract expires in June.
‘You cannot arrive with just 11, 12 or 13 players. It’s impossible, especially this week,’ Guardiola told reporters at his post-match press confeence when asked about Raheem Sterling being in and out of the side.
‘So we were rotate six, seven, eight players and there are players who even don’t play much who I think about all the time.
‘For example, Eric Garcia is one of my favourite players. I would love to have 15 Eric Garcias for the way he conducts himself, his behaviour. He’s always thinking in the team.
‘It’s always a good phase, he helps the manager and the backroom staff all the time and I would love it…
‘He will go in an incredible team and when the people say the people are unsatisfied if I don’t play them…
‘I think with Eric, like most of the times, he’s not on the bench because he’s going to move to Barcelona, I hope so. But I think of them. It’s tough but it is what it is.’
Garcia looked to have made a breakthrough towards the end of last season as he established himself as a regular at the heart of City’s defence alongside Laporte.
But John Stones’ revival has seen Garcia drop down the pecking order this term and the young Spain international looks likely to have played his last game for the Premier League leaders.
The soon-to-be Barcelona man has made 33 appearances since breaking into City’s first-team back in December 2018.
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