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

  • Nine Super League clubs welcomed back by UEFA but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid given stern warning Nine Super League clubs welcomed back by UEFA but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid given stern warning

    Nine of the clubs involved in the proposed European Super League have escaped a possible ban from the Champions League and Europa League after being welcomed back by UEFA.

    The Premier League's 'big six' and Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid have affirmed their commitment to UEFA competitions after acknowledging "the Super League project was a mistake" and apologising "to fans, national associations, national leagues, fellow European clubs and UEFA".

    All nine clubs must abide by a set of "reintegration measures" in order to be allowed back into the UEFA fold.

    These include commitments to UEFA Statutes and to competing in existing UEFA competitions for which they qualify, rejoining the European Club Association and taking "all steps within their power" to terminate their involvement in the company established to run the Super League.

    The clubs will also contribute to a €15million goodwill fund to be used for youth and grassroots football in Europe, while they will see five per cent of UEFA club competition revenues withheld for one season. UEFA says that revenue money will also be redistributed.

    Should any of the nine clubs attempt a similar breakaway in future, they will be fined €100m. Breaching any other aspect of the Club Commitment Declaration – the agreement signed to enable their return to UEFA competitions – will incur a fine of €50m.

    Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Milan, Inter and Atletico all renounced the Super League following significant opposition from fans, players and sponsors over their proposed involvement.

    However, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have so far refused to follow suit and all three could now face strong punishment by UEFA, with the matter referred to disciplinary bodies.

    UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that.
     
    "In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit. 
     
    "The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK. 
     
    "These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football. The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called 'Super League' and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently."

  • Istanbul Champions League final in doubt after UK puts Turkey on 'red list' Istanbul Champions League final in doubt after UK puts Turkey on 'red list'

    UEFA and the Football Association are in talks over moving the Champions League final from Istanbul to the UK after Turkey was placed on the country's travel "red list"

    Manchester City and Chelsea qualified for the May 29 showpiece with respective victories over Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid this week.

    On Thursday, UEFA said it remained committed to staging the game in the Turkish capital, despite the country being under a coronavirus lockdown until May 17 and having the eighth-highest amount of active COVID-19 cases in the world.

    UEFA also intended to operate with a reduced capacity at the Ataturk Stadium, although new government rules announced on Friday mean City and Chelsea fans travelling would have to quarantine in government-approved hotels upon their return.

    Turkey's red list status, which is effective from May 17 and will not be reviewed for three weeks, would also add significant complications for players returning to the UK before linking up with their national teams for Euro 2020 and the Copa America, unless exemptions can be secured.

    Both international tournaments begin on June 11, 13 days after the Champions League final.

    Speaking at a news conference on Friday, the UK's secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps said: "Fans should not travel to Turkey. The FA are in discussions with UEFA on this.

    "We are very open to hosting the final but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA."

    Wembley is set to host the Championship play-off final on May 29, casting doubt over any prospect of moving the Champions League final to England's national stadium.

    Sky Sports reported on Thursday that Aston Villa had offered to host the game at Villa Park, with Birmingham holding an appeal in being roughly equidistant between Manchester and London.

    UEFA is understood to be taking time to reflect upon the red list decision before making its next move.

  • Glazer vows to explore possibility of fan shares in Man Utd, promises more open dialogue Glazer vows to explore possibility of fan shares in Man Utd, promises more open dialogue

    Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer has promised to discuss the issue of fans owning shares in the Red Devils and acknowledged disgruntled supporters' calls for change after a week of turmoil at the club.

    Glazer provided a written response on United's official website to a letter from a fans' forum, which had demanded increased consultation with supporters in the aftermath of the decision to sign up for the doomed European Super League.

    It marks the first statement from Glazer since supporters protested against the owners prior to Sunday's scheduled Premier League fixture with Liverpool. A group of fans, who are still banned from attending matches due to the coronavirus pandemic, broke into Old Trafford and invaded the pitch, while hundreds of others gathered at the Lowry Hotel to stop the team leaving to play the game, which was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday.

    A four-point plan put to Glazer asked for a fan share scheme giving supporters voting rights, support for a fan-led government review, the appointment of independent directors to the board, and regular consultation with season ticket holders on major decisions.

    In response, Glazer wrote: "As one of the few European football clubs listed on the public markets, we believe in the principle of fans owning shares in the club. 

    "We have previously engaged with the Manchester United Supporters' Trust on fan share ownership and we want to continue and accelerate those discussions, together with provisions to enhance associated fan consultation.

    "In particular, I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you [fans forum] as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in. 

    "We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle."

    Glazer said he will "willingly and openly" engage with the government's fan-led review into football and described it as "a positive opportunity to explore new structures for fan engagement and influence".

    He also once again apologised "for the mistakes that were made" in relation to United's involvement in the proposed breakaway Super League, which received huge backlash due to the closed-shop nature of the competition.

    "I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in," he added. 

    "We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle.

    "We remain committed to working with the wider football community to make the game stronger and more sustainable over the long-term, and we will now refocus our efforts on doing this within the existing structures of UEFA and the Premier League."

    Speaking prior to the second leg of United's Europa League semi-final against Roma this week, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said fans must be allowed to protest peacefully but felt last Sunday's actions went "too far".

    "It was a difficult day for us," Solskjaer said.

    "Of course we wanted to play and beat Liverpool, for the fans, even. Our job has to be getting good results on the pitch, that's the players' focus, my focus, but as I said before the game, we have to listen, hear the fans' voices, it's everyone's right to protest.

    "But it has to be in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, when you break in, when police get injured, scarred for life, that's one step too far, and when it gets out of hand like this, it's a police matter, it's not about opinions anymore."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.