Guardiola 'pretty sure' Eric Garcia will leave Manchester City

By Sports Desk January 24, 2021

Pep Guardiola has seemingly accepted that Eric Garcia will leave Manchester City and return to boyhood club Barcelona.

Garcia left Barca's La Masia academy to join City in 2017 and was handed his senior debut in the following year's EFL Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

The defender made 20 appearances in all competitions last season but neglected to sign a contract extension, as rumours of Barcelona's interest first surfaced.

Garcia, 20, has had his appearances restricted this time around by injury and a positive coronavirus test, although not before making an international breakthrough with Spain.

Barcelona's ongoing presidential elections have featured a regular focus upon the youngster, with candidates debating whether he should be bought this month or signed for free when his City contract runs down.

Sunday's 3-1 FA Cup win at Cheltenham Town was Garcia's first start since the beginning of December and Guardiola, who previously stated he wanted to "seduce" the player into signing a fresh deal, now believes his City career is ticking down.

"I don't think so," he replied when asked whether a new contract was possible for the centre-back.

"I'm pretty sure he'll leave at the end of the season.

"Now, in this transfer window, will depend on the clubs."

City were behind heading into the closing stages at Whaddon Road, before strikes from Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres spared them an FA Cup humiliation of historic proportions.

A fifth-round trip to Championship side Swansea City awaits for the EFL Cup finalists, who are two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United with a game in hand and resume their Champions League campaign against Borussia Monchengladbach next month.

Despite being favourably placed on all fronts, Guardiola baulked at talk of a quadruple bid to usurp the unprecedented domestic treble his team won in 2018-19.

"The target is 'Big Sam', West Bromwich. This is our target," he replied, with City's next Premier League game at the Hawthorns against Sam Allardyce's West Brom.

"The [quadruple] is a fairytale and 99.9 per cent has never been accomplished. My advice is don't do these questions to the managers, it's unrealistic."

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    The 12 founding clubs of the breakaway competition have indicated they want to remain in their domestic leagues, despite threats of severe punishments.

    But World Cup winner Trezeguet, whose former club Juventus are among the group, thinks the excitement will disappear from the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.

    He also fears for the Champions League's lustre should UEFA attempt to continue with it if the European Super League is ultimately launched.

    Trezeguet said to Stats Perform News: "From an emotional side it is nice to conquer your right to play in the Champions League and Europa League on the pitch. 

    "At the moment in Italy we discuss if Juventus can qualify, if Napoli can overtake them, if Lazio can get closer. 

    "All these everyday chats will be lost because with the Super League you already know those three clubs [Juventus, Inter and Milan] will be in and maybe somebody else will be added.

    "Although they clearly stated they would go on, domestic leagues will lose their charm.

    "You lose the charm of understanding clubs' goals... who aims at Champions League? Who at the Europa League? And other goals.

    "And the Champions League will lose these 12 big clubs who boast a big enchantment on marketing and fans." 

    But Trezeguet understands why top clubs would be tempted by the huge financial rewards on offer after the coronavirus pandemic.

    He added: "Read the economic value of the Super League and what Florentino Perez said [about huge financial losses]. If these are the losses, they are huge and they are due to the pandemic. 

    "My opinion is divided. They even said they don't want to give up on other [clubs] - this is yet to be verified. 

    "If you read those figures, you see a big leap in quality [of finances] for these 12 clubs but whether they will help the others is yet to be seen. 

    "But from an emotional point of view I don't agree because you lose the principle of qualifying on the pitch. 

    "We all know for sure that football has become a big business but lest we forget the sporting side of this game. 

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    Trezeguet foresees a lengthy political battle ahead and is unsure whether players and fans will ultimately be listened to.

    He added: "It will be a long bureaucratic clash and it is not a surprise. The Super League on one hand and the UEFA on the other have been very clear. 

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    "Even in Italy and Spain the prime minister and the ministers have backed UEFA rather than the Super League. Now it is politics.

    "The players will be the least listened to - this Super League has been decided without even consulting the players or the fans. 

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    Claudio Ranieri sneered at the prospect of a Super League as Italy's football coaches association boss Renzo Ulivieri called for Juventus, Milan and Inter to be thrown out of Serie A.

    Ranieri used Leicester City's against-the-odds 2015-16 Premier League title march and subsequent involvement in the Champions League as an example of an underdog having its day.

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    Ulivieri, president of the Associazione Italiana Allenatori Calcio, told Rai Radio 1: "It is a dirty trick against the football system, even at the lower levels, designed to solve teams that have done everything wrong in the management of the clubs.

    "This is a serious blow to the national championships. Juventus, Inter and Milan cannot continue to stay in Serie A.

    "Juve have won many championships because they organised themselves better, because they spent more money but also because they made a lot of debts."

    Ranieri, now coach of Sampdoria, said: "Reading what some European clubs want to do, the first thing that comes to my memory is precisely the feat accomplished by Leicester.

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    Former Chelsea boss Ranieri added, according to La Gazzetta Dello Sport: "What they are trying to do is wrong. Maybe they are doing this to cover all the debts they have.

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