The youngster has rejected a new contract from Manchester City for a move to Camp Nou.
Manchester City’s defensive starlet Eric Garcia has reportedly rejected an extension from the club and favours a move back to FC Barcelona who look likely to sign their academy graduate for a fee reported to be about €15.5m.
The young centre back broke into the City backline after good performances for the U21s and with the prolonged injury to Aymeric Laporte. Despite his performances for the English giants, they lost ground on Liverpool in the title race eventually finishing 18 points behind them in the standings as the Reds raced away to a historic title triumph.
Eric Garcia showed glimpses of potential and his efforts seemingly interested Manchester City’s Director of Football Txiki Begiristain, who was prepared to discuss fresh terms with Garcia’s representatives but the player has pulled the plug on his stay at the club.
The situation at FC Barcelona
Barcelona haven’t had a season to savour having missed out on the league title to rivals Real Madrid and it was in the defensive department where they were really hurt. The Blaugrana conceded 38 goals in the league this season, a goal per game, and 13 more than rivals and eventual winners Real Madrid.
To put that into context, eighth-placed Getafe conceded a goal less than the Catalans this season. Their defence went through inconsistent spells and showed an insipid touch on occasions.
How will Eric Garcia fit in?
Eric Garcia stands at a height of 6 feet, optimal for the league and he is also a capable ball-playing centre-back which is a quality that is always appreciated at FC Barcelona.
FC Barcelona are currently short on centre-backs with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet having to pull the weight of the defence. The fact that they sent youngster Jean-Claire Todibo on loan to Schalke didn’t help matters and Umtiti’s recurring injury problems cost them as well.
Along with the return of their youngsters and with Eric Garcia, FC Barcelona will give a lot of cushion to the combination of Pique and Lenglet.
Garcia is also a fearless defender, who doesn’t shy away from challenges and has proven to be a proactive defender in situations like in the game against Liverpool where City won 4-0.
The fact that Manchester City were intent on offering him an extension and seeing him as a part of their future gives evidence of his capability and he will feel right at home in the Camp Nou.
What will FC Barcelona gain?
Firstly, the youngster who spent his formative years at La Masia will finally represent the club. He has also been trained under Pep Guardiola and that ethos will be instilled even more in him. In the few Premier League games that he played in this season, Garcia has averaged 56 passes/game at an accuracy of 93% which shows his capability of playing out from the back.
Combine the ability of Eric Garcia with efficient movers of the ball in Busquets, Rakitic and Frenkie De Jong – and FC Barcelona can have a good funnel at the back to play passes quickly out front and open up turnovers in possession.
In his brief time, Garcia averaged 0.5 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game and these are numbers that are bound to improve in a system he knows how to play in. In his sole Champions League game, he notched up two tackles and four clearances in 90 minutes against Dinamo Zagreb.
Provided he is gradually brought into the first XI, Eric Garcia promises to be a long-term option for FC Barcelona. He can also prove to be an able option from the bench and when called upon he can deliver.
Do FC Barcelona really need Eric Garcia?
In many ways than one, Eric Garcia’s move to Barcelona sounds positive and is a step in the right direction for the club. A homegrown player who knows the system, in a department where they need reinforcements coupled with the fee that City are charging, it is a good long-term investment for Barcelona and is very important for them to increase the headcount in their thin squad.
But as always only time can determine if he is a good fit for Barcelona. If the deal is successful, the fans can only hope Garcia to be a hit in the defence, where they are seriously deficient of talents.