Eric Garcia Turns Down Man City Contract Amid Barcelona Return Links

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City defender Eric Garcia has turned down the offer of a contract extension at the Premier League club.

The 19-year-old center back has been linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona, which he left three years ago.

The Spaniard made 19 first-team appearances this season for City.

“He announced to us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with Manchester City,” manager Pep Guardiola said Thursday. “He has one more year and after that, he doesn’t want to extend. We want it but he doesn’t want to, so I imagine he wants to play in another place.”

The club this week signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth but will now have to decide whether it makes sense to sell Garcia this summer or risk losing him on a free transfer next year.

The emergence of Garcia had been a bonus for Guardiola in a problem position. The club did not replace former captain Vincent Kompany when he left the club last summer and Aymeric Laporte missed five months of the campaign through injury.

With Guardiola appearing to lack confidence in the pairing of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi in central defense, midfielder Fernandinho was deployed as a makeshift center back for most of the campaign.