Barcelona defender Eric Garcia has emerged as a transfer target for Newcastle United, with Joan Laporta open to a sale for a fee of around €40 million.
According to a report from El Nacional, Eric Garcia could be offered a way back to the Premier League just six months after he left for Barcelona as Newcastle United are interested in signing him in the ongoing transfer window.
Garcia started Barcelona’s fabled La Masia youth setup and spent nine years on their books between 2008 and 2017 before moving to Manchester City. The 20-year-old broke into the first team not long after but managed just 35 senior appearances for Pep Guardiola’s side, given that he was well down the pecking order of things at the Etihad Stadium.
The Spaniard ran down his contract with the Cityzens and returned to Barcelona last summer, signing on a free transfer. Since moving back to Catalonia, he has been a regular in the side, featuring in 18 matches across all competitions. However, his performances have not always been consistent enough, leading to Xavi preferring the pairing of Ronald Araujo and Gerard Pique.
There have been a few occasions when the Barcelona manager has even preferred Clement Lenglet over the 20-year-old Garcia. It has cast some doubts over his long-term future at Camp Nou, especially with the Blaugrana in desperate need of offloading players as they look to register new signing Ferran Torres while creating some funds by player sales as well.
And, as per the report mentioned above, Newcastle United have emerged as a potential suitor for the Spanish international. The Magpies find themselves in serious trouble in the Premier League. Rooted to 19th place in the table, Eddie Howe & co. are staring at the possibility of relegation down to the EFL Championship unless things change drastically over the next few months.
The January window offers Newcastle a chance to reinforce their squad and make a concerted push to get out of the drop zone and move towards safety. So, multiple signings can be expected this month, especially thanks to the deep pockets of their new owners. Defence is an area where they need to add fresh faces, considering how poorly the current contingent has fared.
Indeed, Newcastle have the joint-worst defensive record in the Premier League this term, having let in 42 goals. Most of the centre-backs at Howe’s disposal are either 30 or older and have struggled to deliver solid performances. So, a new defender can help the Tyneside outfit turn things around in the second half of the season, leading to the interest in Garcia.
The report adds that while Xavi may have some doubts about the 20-year-old, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has total faith in the centre-back. However, the club’s financial situation could lead the Catalans to consider cashing in on Garcia, should Newcastle United come up with an offer of around €40 million.
Someone like Garcia, who has experience in English football and has his best years ahead of him, can be an appealing target for Newcastle. However, it is highly unlikely that the youngster would consider swapping a club of Barcelona’s stature to join a team in the relegation muddle just six months after returning to Camp Nou.