Thursday, March 30, 2023

Update On Barcelona’s Pursuit Of This Manchester City Defender: What Should Be Koeman’s Play?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, The Daily Mail has provided an update on Barcelona‘s pursuit of Manchester City defender Eric Garcia. It is believed that the whole transfer involving Garcia could hinge on Gerard Pique’s decision this week on whether to have surgery on his injured knee which could rule him out for the remainder of this campaign. Plus, Barca will also have to cash in on some of their fringe players if they are to raise enough funds to engineer a move to bring the Man City outcast back to the Nou Camp (via The Daily Mail).

Garcia’s Fall From Grace In English Football

The Barcelona-born talent has been frozen out of Pep Guardiola’s starting XI this season as he has lost his first-team place to Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias. Both John Stones and Nathan Ake have also moved ahead of Garcia in the Etihad Stadium pecking order which shows that he is currently surplus to requirements at the blue half of Manchester.

The 19-year-old has only made four appearances for the Mancunian club this term which has left him frustrated. He had a wonderful breakout year in the previous campaign when he participated in 20 matches, registering one assist and one yellow card in various competitions.

Garcia showed a lot of promise last season by averaging  0.5 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 2.4 clearances and 0.5 dribbles per game in the English top tier. He even excelled at distributing the ball out from the back after he completed 93.1% of his attempted passes in league football (stats via whoscored).

Update on Barcelona's pursuit of Manchester City's Garcia who is seen in the photo
Eric Garcia of Manchester City looks on as he waves to fans after the FA Youth Cup Sixth Round match between AFC Bournemouth U18 and Manchester City U18 at Vitality Stadium on February 26, 2019, in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

What Will The Spanish Prospect Bring To The Nou Camp?

Garcia has got a real presence about him as he can use his strong 1.83m frame to win a lot of headers inside his half. As mentioned earlier, he is an excellent passer of the ball and is quite comfortable when building up plays out from the back.

The Spaniard knows how to come away with the ball when going in for tackles and is not shy of clearing his lines when required. However, he lacks the pace to make recovering runs at the back and can sometimes be caught out of position inside his half.

What Should Be Koeman’s Play Here?

Ronald Koeman has currently got Clement Lenglet as the one fit senior centre-back in his squad which has increased his need to recruit a new centre-back this winter. Garcia fits the bill perfectly as he already knows the club well from his previous spell as a youth player.

Barca would be better off selling off some of their fringe players to fund a bargain move to bring the Man City defensive ace back to Catalonia. He will be an excellent option for the Spanish outfit in the long-run if Koeman can nurture him into becoming a future star in Spanish football.

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