Barcelona will try again to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia in January despite the new president having to give the green light to potential deals, sources told ESPN.
Despite the resignation of President Josep Maria Bartomeu during the week, work continues behind the scenes to strengthen the squad in the winter. Sporting director Ramon Planes and coach Ronald Koeman both believe an additional center-back is needed.
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Barca attempted to sign Garcia over the summer but couldn’t agree on a fee with City. The discussions lasted until the last day of the transfer window. The Catalan club plan to resume negotiations with the Premier League in hopes of reaching an agreement for the new president to sign.
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City declined a final offer worth 10 million euros in advance with an additional 8 million euros in add-ons. They wanted a total package worth 20 million euros, sources told ESPN.
Garcia, 19, no longer has a contract with City at the end of the season. Barca are therefore confident that the English club will be ready to drop their claims in January as they risk leaving for free next summer – although Pep Guardiola is hoping to persuade him to stay.
“He wants to leave but maybe we can seduce him to renew his contract with us,” Guardiola said last week.
Barca are without a president or board of directors after Bartomeu’s resignation on Tuesday. A board of directors runs the club on a daily basis, but has no authority to sign.
Club elections must be held within 90 days of Bartomeu’s resignation. Therefore, a new president should take office in January, if not before.
ESPN first showed Barca’s interest in Garcia on June 2. The Blaugrana see Garcia, who left the club for City in 2017, as a long-term heir to Gerard Pique, but also as someone who can immediately compete.
The squad is short on defense. Ronald Araujo played Juventus on Wednesday with a hamstring injury, making the problem worse. He was sent off at halftime and midfielder Frenkie de Jong had to play as a center-back after injuring Pique.
Pique and Clement Lenglet are therefore the only available center-backs for the weekend game against Alaves. Araujo is out for up to a month, although Samuel Umtiti, who has not played for the club since June, returned to light training on Thursday.