Sports 15/04/2021

Laporta wants to sign Eric Garcia in his own way

Barça reformulate the economic offer to the centre-back, who would arrive on a free contract this summer

2 min
Eric García, during a Premer League match

BarcelonaIn parallel to the end of this season, which could still end with two titles in the bag, Barça is working intensely on what is to come when the summer starts. The new azulgrana director of football, Mateu Alemany, and the technical secretary, Ramon Planes, have multiple folders to address in terms of the preparation of the template. Of Leo Messi, who finishes his contract on 30 June, they only know that the arrival of Joan Laporta in the box is a good starting point to think about his continuity, but beyond the doubt with the Argentinian, there are other issues that they need to move forward. One of them has to do with Eric Garcia, a fruit of La Masia who emigrated to Manchester City as a teenager and is now one step away from returning home. With his 20th birthday in January and a privileged career under Pep Guardiola, the centre-back from Martorell has been sounding for some time now as a strategic reinforcement to fill the void that Gerard Piqué will sooner or later leave in the centre of defence. In fact, his leap to the elite is quite reminiscent of that of the Barcelona man.

After discarding Matthijs de Ligt because he was too expensive and the failed bid for Jean-Clair Todibo, the board of Josep Maria Bartomeu asked the technical secretariat to seduce Garcia not to renew with City. The move served to limit the English club's negotiating strength last summer, but not to double it. In a context of economic hardship, Barça did not reach the figures demanded by the citizens for a footballer who finished his contract in less than a year. In the winter market, and with Bartomeu out of the box, the defender became an electoral weapon. As the coaches asked for him to finish the season with guarantees and the salary had already been agreed with his representatives, the candidate Víctor Font negotiated a low-cost transfer with City. But Laporta and Freixa, alarmed by the economic situation of the club, did not approve the operation and García had to stay in Manchester, where this year, between injuries and competition, he has played a very secondary role.

The new culé president maintains the intention to incorporate the Martorell defender, but wants to do it his way. So he authorized Alemany to redo the proposal a few months ago and adapt it to the harsh reality of the entity. "We are looking for another formula with similar figures that should allow us to enter next year's wage bill", explained to the ARA azulgrana sources, who want Garcia to do his part again to confirm his return. Barça is looking for the player to agree to change from fixed to variable certain concepts of the agreement that has been in place for months. The move gives the club an extra margin to meet other sporting planning needs, such as the arrival of a top attacker or the strategic renewals of Ilaix, Pedri and Ansu Fati, but it also dampens García's enthusiasm, who believes he has already made it easy enough to secure his signing. Although it is a fact that the talks have gone backwards, Barça remain optimistic: "Eric continues to say that he wants to play at Camp Nou".