Pep Guardiola admits Eric Garcia could leave Manchester City to join Barcelona this month

Scott Polacek Manchester City FC

Pep Guardiola has admitted defender Eric Garcia could leave Manchester City this month.

Garcia, who is in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium, has been heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona when his deal expires.

Sportsmail reported on Wednesday that the 20-year-old has already agreed terms on a five-year deal with the Catalans with the club keen to complete a transfer in January, rather than waiting until the end of the season.  

Pep Guardiola has admitted Eric Garcia could leave Manchester City this month

Pep Guardiola has admitted Eric Garcia could leave Manchester City this month

The defender is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a return to Barcelona

The defender is out of contract in the summer and has been linked with a return to Barcelona

Pep Guardiola (L) has admitted that Eric Garcia (R) could leave Manchester City this month

Asked if that might happen, Guardiola said: ‘I hope not but maybe the people from Barcelona know more than me. I don’t know what is going to happen but maybe it is going to happen.’ 

Barca are desperate to bolster their defence but are unlikely to be able to pay the fee until the end of the year. 

A proposed deal is said to be worth around £8.9million according to El Mundo Deportivo with an initial fee of £4.45m due later this year along with another £4.45m in variables. 

Garcia has agreed terms on a five-year deal with the Catalans in a deal said to be worth £8.9m

Garcia has agreed terms on a five-year deal with the Catalans in a deal said to be worth £8.9m

Garcia has agreed terms on a five-year deal with the Catalans in a deal said to be worth £8.9m

Barca’s financial problems mean they are struggling to pay up front until their January presidential election is resolved.  

Garcia is at least back in contention to play this weekend after returning to training following a spell in isolation with coronavirus. City host Crystal Palace on Sunday evening.

Defenders Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are out injured and striker Sergio Aguero is still isolating after being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Guardiola said at a press conference: ‘I think Eric Garcia will (be) back. Nathan and Ayme are still not fit, Sergio I don’t think so. The rest I think are OK.’

City are emerging as strong title contenders after winning their last four Premier League games.

Their most recent success was a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Brighton on Wednesday and Guardiola feels it is in such games, and this weekend’s clash with Palace, that a side’s true mettle is shown.

City are emerging as strong title contenders after winning their last four league games

City are emerging as strong title contenders after winning their last four league games

City are emerging as strong title contenders after winning their last four league games

Guardiola said: ‘If you look at the results for the top teams, every game is complicated and difficult. When you win away against two incredible teams like Chelsea and Man United the headlines are nice but the reality was Brighton and we knew it.

‘We played really good against Brighton. We created chances to score three or four goals but we suffered in the last minutes not because we were bad but because they were good.

‘Every game is difficult and Sunday will be no exception.’

City spurned numerous chances to make their win over Brighton more comfortable, notably when Raheem Sterling blazed a penalty over the bar in the latter stages.

It was a poor miss but Guardiola has refused to criticise the England forward.

Guardiola said: ‘He’s an incredibly important player for us. Everything we have done would not have been possible without him.

‘He will score goals, make assists and help in all departments like normally wingers are not able to. I’m more than happy to have him here with us.’ 

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