Pep Guardiola says Manchester City defender Eric Garcia has turned down the offer of a contract extension at the Etihad Stadium.
The 19-year-old, who joined City from Barcelona three years ago, has made 19 first-team appearances this season.
Manager Guardiola said at a press conference: “He announced to us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with Manchester City.
“He has one more year and after that, he doesn’t want to extend. We want it but he doesn’t want to, so I imagine he wants to play in another place.”
The emergence of Garcia, particularly since the season resumed after the Covid-19 stoppage, had been a bonus for Guardiola in a problem position.
City did not replace former captain Vincent Kompany when he left the club last summer and Aymeric Laporte missed five months of the campaign through injury.
With Guardiola appearing to lack confidence in a John Stones-Nicolas Otamendi pairing, midfielder Fernandinho was deployed as a makeshift centre-back for most of the campaign.
The club this week signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for £40million but will now have to decide whether it makes sense to sell Garcia this summer or risk losing him on a free transfer next year.
Uncertainty has now further crept in about the futures of Stones and Otamendi. Stones, in particular, has struggled for game time this season.
BARCELONA KEEN ON SNAPPING GARCIA UP?
The comments from Guardiola coincide with reports about Garcia’s potential next destination.
The Manchester Evening News claims Barcelona are in the prime position to swoop and bring him back to Catalonia.
Indeed, Mundo Deportivo (via Sport Witness) adds that Barca representatives have held talks with Garcia’s agent.
The agent has since informed them that Garcia is “seduced” by the prospect of returning to the club.
Barcelona may need centre-back reinforcements this summer. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet look likely to be the only pair assured of their place in the side.
Elsewhere, Samuel Umtiti has struggled for consistency and is likely to go, as will Jean-Clair Todibo.