Arsenal could offer a different escape route to Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, who continues to be linked with Barcelona.
That’s according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim that Garcia’s proposed move to Barcelona is not a foregone conclusion.
The defender previously came through the La Masia youth ranks, before joining City in 2017. In Manchester, he has been given his first taste of senior football and so far has 16 Premier League appearances to his name across the last two seasons.
Garcia is out of contract at the end of this campaign, and although Pep Guardiola would like to keep him, he is starting to accept that will be unlikely.
Instead, the 20-year-old defender seems likely to return to Barcelona. Ronald Koeman has identified him as a major target as they look to strengthen in defence.
Barca initially wanted to agree a deal for Garcia this month, but delays in their presidential elections have forced those plans to be put on hold.
The Spain international is willing to wait, but if Barca cannot make progress in their negotiations, he may have to consider other options.
For example, one report from Mundo Deportivo recently claimed that PSG were plotting a move. The same source now adds to that by claiming Arsenal are also keen to keep him in the Premier League.
There is an obvious connection, as Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta used to coach at City. There, he witnessed Garcia’s development.
Arteta follows similar principles to the ones he learned at City, the report reminds. Therefore, a move to London could be a simple transition for Garcia.
It is likely that Guardiola would not be too happy about this. If a return to Barcelona does not happen for Garcia, City would not want to lose him to a Premier League rival.
But as things stand, Garcia is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. By then, he will be able to sign for whoever he likes.
The preference remains Barcelona, but his future will still be all to play for if the La Liga giants do not take him back.
Koeman, Guardiola predict Garcia future
Barca boss Koeman has admitted defeat in his attempts to sign Garcia this month, but remains keen to sign him as a free agent.
“We cannot demand that the Management Board make decisions like this,” he said when asked about a January swoop. “We have concluded that if he is a player whose contract is ending, we must wait.
“If we moved now we would have to pay the transfer fee plus the player’s salary.”
City counterpart Guardiola, meanwhile, is not expecting to have Garcia next season.
“I’m pretty sure he’s going to leave at the end of the season,” he said. “Now, in this transfer window, it will depend on the clubs. We’ll see until the end of the transfer window.”