BARCELONA

Man City defender Eric García closer to Barcelona move

García and Memphis Depay are out of contract with their respective clubs this summer and are free to negotiate from January 1, with Barcelona interested in signing both players.

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Manchester City defender Eric García has agreed personal terms with Barcelona on a five-year deal and Barça could bring forward the transfer but would need to agree a fee with the Premier League club to sign him in January.

Last summer, Barcelona offered City €10 million for his services but the offer was turned down. García has rejected the Etihad outfit's offer of a new deal and made his intention of returning to the Catalan club clear.

García came through Barcelona's youth system before eventually moving to England in 2017. With less than six months of the Spain international's contract remaining, he is free to negotiate with overseas clubs and has reached an agreement to return to Camp Nou at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

It has been reported that City head coach Pep Guardiola was hoping the young defender may have a change of heart and stay in England, however García is reportedly keen on a return to the club that he first joined in 2008.

“He [García] told us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with Man City, so he has one more year,” Pep Guardiola said in August. "I imagine he wants to play in another place.”

Although García looks set to return and play in LaLiga, no contract has been signed yet as it can only be done only when the new Barcelona president is elected at the end of January. It is unlikely, however, that the new club president, who will have a say in the transfer going ahead, will opt out of finalising the deal for the highly-rated youngster.

Koeman keen on Depay

Memphis Depay had made it clear that he wants to join Barça from Lyon, however a deal for the Netherlands forward appears more complicated than García's arrival.

The signing of Depay is a request from head coach Ronald Koeman. Depay is also attracting interest from Juventus and could leave Ligue 1 for just €5 million, with just a few months remaining on the 26-year-old's contract. Koeman hopes to be able to convince Carles Tusquets, the President of the Barcelona Managing Committee, to activate the transfer if Barça are able to facilitate loan deals for Carles Aleñá, Júnior Firpo or Martin Braithwaite in the January transfer window.

The advantage Barça have with the two deals is the desire of both players to play at Camp Nou, however, the club's current economic situation, and the pending arrival of a new club president ensures neither deal will be plain sailing.