Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing FC Barcelona centre-back Eric Garcia as they look to add more depth to the squad in defence.
Garcia and Mikel Arteta previously worked together while they are at Manchester City.
The 21-year-old was at Barcelona initially but he signed for the Premier League club in 2017.
The defender was a bit-part player at Man City under Pep Guardiola and he rejected a contract offer to return to Barcelona on a free transfer last year.
By all accounts, the youngster has struggled since returning to the Spanish giants. He has made 50 appearances over the past 18 months.
But he has been in and out of the team this term with him only starting eight times in La Liga. He has been an unused substitute for their last four league games.
Spanish outlet Fichajes are reporting that Garcia ‘is not included in Xavi’s plans’ due to his ‘poor performances’ this season.
It is also suggested that Barcelona boss Xavi would prefer to ‘bet on’ Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo.
The Spanish side are also keen to sign Inigo Martinez from Atletico Madrid and given their financial difficulties, selling Garcia would help their efforts to sign him.
He ‘fits perfectly’ within their ‘transfer policy’, especially considering his ongoing situation at Barcelona.
Arteta ‘knows him well’ and is a ‘fan of his game’. It is noted that Garcia’s contract is not up until 2026 but his price is ‘around 15 million euros’.
Garcia stands as a cost-effective addition and it is also a benefit that he has prior experience in the Premier League.
The report adds that Garcia would ‘compete with William Saliba’ for a starting birth.
The Frenchman returned to the club in the summer and he has struck up a great partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes while Ben White has been equally as impressive at right-back.
Arsenal recently triggered an option in Saliba’s contract so his current deal will not expire in 2024. They have done the same thing with Bukayo Saka.
The London club are keen to retain both players long-term and Arteta recently suggested that Saliba is “really happy” at the club”.
“We have a few of those [young players] that we are willing to extend the contract,” said Arteta.
“Willy is one of them. I think he’s shown in the months that he’s been with us the quality and the personality he has to play at the level that we want. We are trying to do that because we know he can be a really important part of our plans.
“I hope [talks are progressing well]. That’s more to [sporting director] Edu and the board to be discussing with him. What I know is that the player is really happy, the player wants to be here and that’s the main thing.”
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