Why Man City should convince Eric Garcia to sign a new deal
According to Sky Sports, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that teenage centre-back Eric Garcia has rejected the offer of a new deal at the Etihad and believes the Spaniard wants to continue his career at some other club.
The 19-year-old is out of contract at City in the summer of 2021 and was recently offered a new long-term deal after featuring in 8 of the Citizens’ 12 games in all competitions since the restart. (h/t Sky Sports)
As per the report, Guardiola has reiterated his desire to keep Garcia as a part of his plans moving forward but there’s a feeling that he sees his future elsewhere.
Born in Barcelona, Garcia spent nine years between 2008 and 2017 at the La Masia youth system before making his move across the continent to join Man City. The highly-rated teenager featured thrice in the Citizens’ triumphant 2018-19 EFL Cup campaign but he had to wait until the following season to make his Premier League debut.
The 19-year-old enjoyed an impressive breakthrough season in the top-flight last term, clocking up 791 minutes of league football across 8 starts and 5 substitute appearances. Besides that, he also started once in the Champions League and on five other occasions in the domestic cup competitions last season.
Garcia is yet to make his senior international debut for Spain but has already represented his nation at U-19 and U-21 levels.
Man City’s current defensive scenario
Long-standing skipper Vincent Kompany’s departure last summer followed by Aymeric Laporte’s injury early in the 2019-20 campaign left City short of quality cover at the heart of the defence. With John Stones also struggling for form and fitness, Guardiola had to rely on midfielder Fernandinho to accompany Nicolas Otamendi in central defence for a prolonged period.
Laporte did return to action during the latter half of the campaign but the damage had already been done by that time. To sum it up, City’s lack of stability at the back was one of the key reasons why they ended up surrendering the PL title to Liverpool last season.
The arrival of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth is a clear indication that Guardiola is well aware of the need to shore up his backline. The report also adds that Man City are plotting a move for Kalidou Koulibaly, who could cost in the region of £90m.
Why Garcia could be a key part of the club’s plans
There aren’t too many centre-backs aged 19 who enjoy almost 800 minutes of first-team football throughout the season in any of the top-five leagues in Europe, especially in the Premier League, where the gruelling physicality can be a massive challenge for the younger players.
To that end, Garcia can hardly complain about his role at a top club like Man City after making 19 appearances across all competitions this past season. He just needs to stay patient and focus on his development, with Guardiola already showing a lot of faith in his abilities.
Given his massive potential and the rapid progress he has made over the last 12 months, City need to try their best to convince him that staying at the Etihad would be in the best interests of his development.
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With Stones failing to establish himself as a trusted lieutenant at the back due to injuries and inconsistency and Otamendi nearing the latter stages of his career at 32, Garcia can certainly expect first-team opportunities to be forthcoming in the next few years.
Ake’s arrival will, of course, increase competition for places but that would be the case for Garcia at any other club in the world. He would hardly get a better manager than Guardiola to push him for greater glory.
Moreover, keeping the Spanish U-21 international on the books would probably be a better option for City rather than spending a massive amount on Koulibaly, who is already 29. He wouldn’t have a big resale value in the future.
Suffice to say, Garcia has what it takes to be the next poster boy from Man City’s academy after Phil Foden. The Cityzens should tie him down to a new deal at all costs.