Barcelona are reportedly set to face stiff competition from Liverpool in the race to sign Eric Garcia from Manchester City.

According to a report by Spanish publication Sport, Eric Garcia has emerged on the radar of Premier League champions Liverpool. The Spanish international, who is set to leave Manchester City, is also a target for former club Barcelona.

Eric Garcia joined Manchester City in the summer of 2017, leaving Barcelona after failing to see a clear pathway to first-team football. The 19-year-old then broke into the first-team setup at City in 2018 and has since gradually grown in stature at the Etihad under the watchful eyes of Pep Guardiola.

However, Garcia is now in the final year of his contract with Manchester City, having made it clear to Guardiola that he will not be penning a renewal once his current contract runs out next summer. The former Barcelona manager has iterated that he wants to coax the Spaniard into signing a new deal, but that seems to be a lost cause. His situation has now piqued the interest of Liverpool.

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For weeks now, Liverpool have been touted to be in the transfer market for a centre-back, forced to do so after both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sustained long-term knee injuries. With the duo now on the sidelines, Joel Matip is the only recognised senior centre-back at Jurgen Klopp’s disposal, and even the Cameroonian has had his fair share of fitness struggles in the past year.

Fabinho has stepped up superbly as a makeshift centre-back, while Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips are the youngsters that could be viable options for Klopp. However, after choosing not to replace Dejan Lovren in the summer, the Liverpool boss needs another centre-back at his disposal, making Garcia a viable target.

Barcelona, on the other hand, are in search of a long-term replacement for Gerard Pique, who is in the final stages of his career. While Oscar Mingueza has stepped up magnificently, the fact that Samuel Umtiti could be surplus to requirements means that Barcelona do need to sign a central defender, with a January move for Garcia being mooted.

Garcia had also been a summer target for Barcelona, but a move did not materialise. However, with the Spanish international not prepared to sign a new contract with Manchester City, a January transfer is likely. Therefore, it might not be surprising to see Liverpool or Barcelona make a move for the teenager.

Having said that, Manchester City would understandably prefer selling to Barcelona rather than a Premier League rival, meaning Liverpool and Arsenal, who have also been linked with Garcia lately, are unlikely to secure his services this winter. What now remains to be seen is the time when Garcia finally leave City, although Barcelona remain confident they can re-sign the 19-year-old.

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