Arsenal are showing an interest in Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia, with manager Mikel Arteta a keen admirer of the young prospect, according to the latest reports.
The Spanish central defender has been eyeing a move away from the Etihad Stadium over the past 12 months, with Pep Guardiola confirming earlier this year that the former La Masia talent had rejected opportunities to renew his current deal with Manchester City.
There had been a feeling that the teenager would make the long-awaited switch to La Liga giants and his former club Barcelona during the summer transfer window. However, partly due to the financial situation at the Camp Nou and Manchester City's firm valuation of the player, Garcia remained at the Etihad for another 12 months.
According to reliable Arsenal news source AFC Bell, Eric Garcia is one of 'several options' the club are considering to strengthen the defence at the Emirates. The report claims that former City assistant coach, Mikel Arteta 'admires' the player's reading of the game, sense of perception, and his tactical positioning.
It is suggested that Arsenal are beginning to move towards the player's camp, and are hoping to be able to conclude a free transfer next summer - when Garcia's Etihad contract expires. As expected, Barcelona will be a fierce competitor in the hunt for the player, and may even make a move for him in the upcoming January transfer window.
The AFC Bell continue by claiming that Eric Garcia, as expected, was 'desperate' to join Barcelona during the summer, but was left frustrated by the Catalan club's failure to reach an agreement with Manchester City.
In terms of his next destination, sources close to the player have stated that the Spanish international will choose the option that guarantees him regular minutes, that will subsequently guarantee him a call-up with the national team at the next European Championships.
Garcia may have been forced further away from the first-team picture in recent weeks, with the rise and impressive performances of John Stones - who has also provided significant competition for Aymeric Laporte.
Whether or not Garcia leaves the club in the upcoming window remains to be seen, however Barcelona would have to provide a bid close to Manchester City's valuation of £20 million. The feeling among several reports is that the La Liga club will look to secure some form of verbal or physical agreement between themselves and the relevant parties on the side of the player, before securing the 19-year-old on a free transfer in the summer.
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