Arsenal signing this 20-year-old rising Man City starlet for free would be a smart long-term coup by Arteta

Why Arsenal should go all out to sign Eric Garcia on a free transfer

According to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (h/t Daily Mail), Arsenal have joined the race to sign highly-rated Man City defender Eric Garcia on a free transfer next summer.

The 20-year-old has entered the final six months of his contract at the Etihad. The Cityzens are willing to tie him down to fresh terms but it is understood that the young centre-back is willing to pursue his career away from Premier League heavyweights.

Barcelona have been alerted to the prospect of re-signing their former academy prospect while Paris Saint-Germain, and most recently Arsenal, have also joined the race.

Eric Garcia is out of contract at the end of the season (Getty Images)

Man City are willing to cash in on the youngster for a knockdown £4.4million price but the Gunners are willing to wait until next summer to snap him up for free. (Mundo Desportivo h/t Daily Mail)

Garcia’s rise at Man City

Garcia spent nine years in the youth system of Barcelona between 2008 and 2017 before moving to England with Man City. After impressing for the club’s U-23 side at the Premier League 2 level, the centre-back made his competitive debut against Leicester City in the EFL Cup in December 2018.

The 20-year-old enjoyed his breakthrough in the Premier League in the following campaign. He made 13 appearances in the top-flight last season with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte spending time on the treatment table. Garcia finished the 2019-20 campaign with 20 appearances in all competitions. (h/t Transfermarkt)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola giving instructions to defender Eric Garcia during a match. (Getty Images)

However, the Spaniard has found regular minutes hard to come by in the ongoing campaign. The arrival of Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake in the summer has pushed him down the pecking order. Garcia has started only twice in the Premier League so far this term while also featuring thrice in the Champions League. (h/t Transfermarkt)

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Garcia’s impressive rise at Man City has also seen him earn recognition for Spain at the senior international level. Besides making 31 first-team appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side, the youngster has also represented his nation 4 times so far. 

Arsenal’s centre-back scenario

Arsenal have made great strides in terms of clearing the deadwood from their defensive ranks this month. Sead Kolasinac departed on loan earlier in the window while veteran centre-back Sokratis has also joined Olympiacos after having his contract in North London terminated by mutual consent. 

Eric Garcia of Manchester City and Diogo Jota of Wolverhampton Wanderers vie for the ball during the Premier League match between both sides last December. (Getty Images)

Those departures have not only helped Mikel Arteta trim down his squad, but has also created enough room to accommodate fresh faces with an eye on the future. Summer signing Gabriel Magalhaes has established himself as one of the mainstays of Arsenal’s backline alongside Rob Holding. Pablo Mari has also proven his worth as a squad player in recent weeks.

However, with David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi both out of contract next summer, Arsenal should continue to look for reinforcements in that department. The Gunners do have William Saliba waiting in the wings to make an impression but he is yet to be given a crack of the whip by Arteta.

Garcia an ideal long-term investment for Arsenal?

Putting things into context, Arsenal winning the race to sign Eric Garcia on a free transfer would represent a massive boost to their long-term plans. The Spaniard is widely regarded as one of the best rising centre-back talents across the continent and would surely help the Gunners in their rebuilding job under Arteta.

Source: Getty Images

Despite limited game time, the 20-year-old has shown maturity beyond his tender years, not only in the Premier League but also in the Champions League. That he is already a full international for an elite European nation like Spain speaks volumes of his progress in recent times.

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Plus, he is a player Arteta knows really well, having worked with him at close quarters while serving as the assistant to Guardiola at City. Having said that, Arsenal should leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of Garcia as nabbing a youngster of his calibre on a free transfer would be an absolute steal.

Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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Sayan Chatterjee
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