EPL

Eric Garcia to leave Man City? Another frustrating exit for the Etihad academy

By Sports Desk August 06, 2020

Manchester City's preparations for their eagerly awaited Champions League showdown against Real Madrid have been thrown into flux by the news teenage centre-back Eric Garcia will not sign a new contract at the club.

Garcia has established himself as Pep Guardiola's first-choice central defensive partner for Aymeric Laporte since the Premier League resumed.

However, the 19-year-old has been heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona and Camp Nou looks increasingly likely to be his next destination following Guardiola's shock disclosure on Thursday.

Garcia is far from the first bright young thing to look beyond the environs of the Etihad Campus. Here, we look at how those next moves panned out, as Phil Foden's impressive first-team breakthrough increasingly looks like the exception to the rule.

ERIC GARCIA

Garcia's defection feels like it will cut Guardiola deep – the City boss having lavished praise upon "a guy who doesn't make mistakes", making for a pointed contrast with the out-of-favour Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones. Plenty of City youngsters have had a strong argument in terms of having no obvious pathway to the first team but, even allowing for the arrival of Nathan Ake and further reinforcements being sought at centre-back, this in not really a case Garcia can make.

He made seven of his 13 Premier League appearances after lockdown this term. It seems a simple case of Barcelona's allure being too strong to ignore.

BRAHIM DIAZ

Brahim is back in Manchester this week with Real Madrid, meaning his reasons for departing have common ground with the Garcia situation. The forward was similarly offered fresh terms at the Etihad Stadium but, despite 15 appearances and two goals across all competitions, the plethora of attacking options at Guardiola's disposal undoubtedly came into his thinking. Madrid paid €17million for Brahim last January and have not shown a great deal more inclination to give him a run at the highest level.

RABBI MATONDO

Another attacking player who assessed the star-studded cast ahead of him and decided he would be better off elsewhere. The curious thing about Matondo's €9m move to Schalke in the same month Brahim left is he had not troubled Guardiola's first-team squad, even if he had made the breakthrough with Wales at international level. Eighteen months on, he has 27 Bundesliga appearances and two goals to his name. It is nevertheless difficult to imagine Matondo taking the course of action he did without another man blazing a trail...

JADON SANCHO

Sancho was set for a place on City's 2017-18 pre-season tour alongside Foden. But while his fellow England youth international went on to enjoy a sparkling debut against Manchester United in the International Champions Cup, Sancho kicked his heels at home. Contract negotiations and, as a result, relations with City had broken down. In the bigger picture was the club looking to add Alexis Sanchez to their already considerable forward line.

Sancho sensed his career would be allowed to flourish at Borussia Dortmund and, as he reportedly moves towards a return to England at Manchester United having established himself as one of the most lethal attackers in Europe, it is impossible to argue he was proved anything other than emphatically correct. If he steps out at Old Trafford next season, it will sting on the blue side of Manchester.

JASON DENAYER

Denayer's tale is arguably one that came into the thinking of Sancho and others when considering their future prospects at the Etihad Stadium. Having impressed on loan at Celtic in 2014-15, City gave the Belgium defender a five-year contract. They then signed Nicolas Otamendi for £32m and loaned the youngster to Galatasaray, where he returned in 2017-18 after a season with Sunderland. Denayer will also play in the Champions League last-16 this week with Lyon, who he joined in 2018 for €10m having never managed a competitive appearance for City.

MARCOS 'RONY' LOPES

In the same month Denayer received wildly mixed messages about his future, Portuguese winger Lopes moved to Monaco for €12m after spending the previous season in Ligue 1 at Lille. He produced a handful of exciting cameos while on the fringes of Manuel Pellegrini's City squad, having become the club's youngest ever goalscorer at 17 years and eight days in a January 2013 FA Cup win over Watford. Even then, Lopes – who recently joined Nice on loan from Sevilla – saw the writing on the wall.

"I knew it wouldn't change anything because I knew the players at City at the time, I knew the money involved," he told The Athletic earlier this year. "I knew in my head that to play more, I would have to leave."

Related items

  • Arteta suggests Ozil might struggle to break into 'evolving' Arsenal side Arteta suggests Ozil might struggle to break into 'evolving' Arsenal side

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta suggested that it will be difficult for Mesut Ozil to force his way into an "evolving" Gunners side. 

    Ozil's contract expires at the end of the season and the 31-year-old's future has been the subject of intense speculation following his refusal to take a pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Arsenal's squad initially declined to take a 12.5 per cent wage reduction for 12 months but after Arteta reportedly intervened, the players – bar Ozil – agreed to accept the club's proposal.

    Ozil stated he did not agree to the pay cut as he felt the club forced the players into making a snap judgement.

    The former Germany international has not featured for the first team since the Premier League game with West Ham on March 7, and was again absent as Arsenal booked their spot in the EFL Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win over Leicester City on Wednesday. 

    Arteta batted away a string of questions regarding Ozil's future from journalists after the game, but the Spaniard did suggest he is likely to find it difficult to force his way into Arsenal's starting XI. 

    "The team is evolving; you can see the level they are achieving," he told a news conference. "This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better.

    "I'm really happy with the performance here, how difficult they're making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.

    "You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it's very difficult every week, not just for Mesut but for some other players as well, to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.

    "It's difficult for others as well that aren't involved in the Premier League and didn't play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we can't give playing time to all of them.

    "I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition."

    Arteta made seven changes to the side that beat West Ham in the Premier League at the weekend, with an own goal from Christian Fuchs and a late second from Eddie Nketiah sealing the win. 

    Arsenal were good value for their victory and Arteta said he was pleased with his team's approach to what could have been a tricky fixture. 

    "I'm really happy with the performance; first of all the attitude and the way we approached the game mentally," he added.

    "The senior players took the lead straight away and I could see that they came here to win the game and after we're so happy with all our young players, the way they're developing and the way they played."

  • Lampard: The first of many great nights for Chelsea's hat-trick hero Havertz Lampard: The first of many great nights for Chelsea's hat-trick hero Havertz

    Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard promised Kai Havertz's three-goal haul against Barnsley will be the first of many impressive displays from the club's new signing.

    Havertz put in some underwhelming performances in his first two Premier League appearances, but came to the fore with a hat-trick in Wednesday's 6-0 EFL Cup demolition of Championship side Barnsley at Stamford Bridge.

    The Germany international star also played a part in another goal as Lampard's side made light work of Barnsley in London midweek.

    Lampard has consistently urged patience with the 21-year-old, and suggested his treble showing is merely a sign of what is to come.

    "I was delighted with Kai and everything of the night that I wanted from him," Lampard told a news conference.

    "It was a great exercise for him, another game to see how we want to work off the ball, but also have freedom on the ball and combinations.

    "It's the first of many great nights for him."

    Tammy Abraham played ahead of Havertz and opened the scoring, with Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud also getting in on the act.

    In defence, Lampard handed a debut to former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva, while Ben Chilwell came on for Havertz midway through the second half.

    "It's exciting for us," Lampard said of Silva's debut, which lasted just over an hour.

    "He has just had a weeks training with us. But he gave something off for us with a leader of authority. At the minute, the fact he can't speak the language doesn't matter too much."

    Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were both left out of Chelsea's squad, and Lampard acknowledged the duo could move on before the transfer window closes if it suits Chelsea.

    "They weren't in the squad and that was just a choice," Lampard said. "There may be movement, but don't read too much in to them not being in the squad. It will have to be right or the club."

  • Barcelona sell Luis Suarez to Atletico Barcelona sell Luis Suarez to Atletico

    Barcelona have sold striker Luis Suarez to LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid for €6million, the Blaugrana have confirmed.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.