Arsenal and Chelsea are reportedly are planning to make a late swoop to secure the signing of Barcelona-bound Manchester City ace Eric Garcia.
According to a report from the Daily Star, Arsenal and Chelsea are plotting to hijack Barcelona’s move to secure the transfer of Eric Garcia from Premier League leaders Manchester City in the summer.
Garcia, a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, made the switch to Manchester City in 2017 and soon found himself knocking on the first-team doors. While he made his senior debut for the Cityzens in 2018, the 20-year-old has not been able to nail down a starting berth at the Etihad Stadium.
Till date, Garcia has made just 33 first-team appearances for Manchester City and was pushed further down the pecking order following the arrivals of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake last summer. With his contract running out at the end of the season, Barcelona acted swiftly to try and re-sign their former trainee on a free transfer.
In fact, reports have claimed that the Catalan giants have already reached a pre-contract agreement with Garcia over a summer switch. However, that may not yet be set in stone as Barcelona’s financial conditions have led to them changing the terms of the deal that was initially agreed upon.
Barcelona are now pushing the 20-year-old to accept a lower base salary with the rest made up in performance-related add-ons. This has now opened the door for other clubs to make a swoop, with Arsenal and Chelsea intending to do just that, having earlier made approaches to secure his signing from City.
Arsenal have plenty of centre-backs on their books as it is, factoring in ones like Konstantinos Mavropanos and William Saliba that are out on loan. However, David Luiz will be turning 34 later this month and his deal with the Gunners expires at the end of the season. And with the futures of the loanees far from certain, signing another centre-half would be a welcome move.
Garcia, to that end, would make a world of sense for Arsenal given that manager Mikel Arteta has already worked with him closely and is a huge admirer of his talent while the Spanish international himself has given a good account of himself in the Premier League so far. However, they could still face competition from London rivals Chelsea.
The Blues, too, have a plethora of options in the central defensive department. But Fikayo Tomori could make his loan move to AC Milan permanent while Thiago Silva, despite the impact that he has made, is in the final phase of his career. So, bringing in another defender would be a smart move given as Thomas Tuchel has preferred a three-man backline since taking over.
To that end, Chelsea have been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid’s Jose Maria Gimenez. But with competition from Real Madrid and Manchester United for the Uruguayan, Garcia could be a cheaper, younger alternative that they can look at.
Garcia, for his part, has already turned down a big-money deal at Manchester City and wants to return to Barcelona. The centre-back has asked for time to consider the Catalans’ rejigged contract offer, but has been given a deadline of until the end of the month to make a decision. It now remains to be seen what the 20-year-old ends up.