Manchester City will not sell Eric García for less than £20m plus £10m in add-ons, with Barcelona wanting to re-sign the 19-year-old, who has signalled his desire to leave after refusing a new deal.
The centre-back is out of contract next summer yet City are intent they will not allow his sale other than for a package similar to the £24.5m fee before add-ons that took Ferran Torres from Valencia to the club this week. This is because the 20-year-old forward is similar in age and profile to García.
Although García’s decision could be disruptive before City’s Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Real Madrid it is understood he remains in contention for selection.
Whether Pep Guardiola will pick him ahead of the vastly more experienced Fernandinho, the 35-year-old midfielder who has operated at centre-back for most of the season, is unclear. The manager remains hopeful that García, whom he rates highly, could change his mind and stay, though he recognises the pull of Barcelona is strong.
“He [García] told us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with Manchester City, so he has one more year,” Guardiola said. “We wanted it but he doesn’t want to extend. I imagine he wants to play in another place.”
Guardiola was bullish about knocking out Madrid, whom they lead 2-1, and seizing the chance to win City’s first European Cup but he warned his team against the defensive frailties that have cost them dear in previous years.
The manager has previously questioned his team’s readiness to win the competition, so his mood signalled a significant shift.
He feels it is time for his team to step up. “I have the feeling that we are ready to play the game tomorrow and do a good performance and win the game,” he said. Speaking more generally about City’s readiness to go all the way, he added: “I have that feeling. We are ready.”
Rodri struck an equally positive note when claiming City have better players than the La Liga winners. “I know we have a better team but we have to show it with good [play] and equalising their personality,” the Spanish midfielder said. “We have a better squad and if we do things well I think everything will be good for us.”
In City’s three past campaigns under Guardiola they have faltered because of a shaky defence. In 2017 a 5-3 lead over Monaco from the first leg was ceded as City lost 3-1 in France to be eliminated on away goals. At Anfield the following year three goals in 19 minutes gave Liverpool an unassailable lead and City were knocked out 5-1 on aggregate. Last season two goals from Son Heung-min in three minutes presaged Tottenham’s progression, again on away goals.
Guardiola acknowledged this had to end. “More than conceding, it’s the way we concede them,” he said. “If they are brilliant we accept them but mostly these are goals we could avoid. Mistakes in this competition punish you a lot. We’ve spoken about it in important games: if we want to make a step forward and win this competition we have to be better in this area.”
Lazio are in negotiations with David Silva regarding a free transfer at the end of the season on a two- or three-year deal.