Guardiola: Barça candidates talk too much about Eric García
Centre-back Eric Garcia has become a hot topic in the Barcelona presidential election and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is unimpressed.
Pep Guardiola has criticised candidates in the Barcelona presidential race for talking too much about Manchester City central defender Eric García. Spain international García has long been linked with a return to his boyhood club since failing to agree an extension to his contract at the Etihad Stadium last year.
Barcelona could sign Eric García on a free transfer in July
The 20-year-old centre-back's terms expire at the end of this season, when signing him on a free transfer might be the most prudent course of action for a financially embattled Barça. One of the candidates, Toni Freixa, said this is the likely conclusion to the saga, although Victor Font this week claimed García would go unpaid for the rest of the season in order to force through a move.
Acting Barça president Carles Tusquets does not have the authority to sign players during this window after the presidential election was delayed until 7 March, adding another layer of complication. Guardiola has already stated he is "pretty sure" García will leave City when the 2020-21 campaign concludes, although there was a weariness when he addressed the matter once more as the Premier League leaders prepare to host Sheffield United.
"I don't want to talk anything about this case because the people talk much," he said, in comments apparently directed towards Freixa and Font, who are standing against his old boss at Camp Nou, Joan Laporta. "He's our player, the transfer window finishes in a few days. We are fully committed with him while he is here because is an exceptional player and guy and that's all."
City host struggling Sheffield United
Saturday's top-versus-bottom clash at the Etihad Stadium threatens to be more competitive than billed if events this midweek on the other side of Manchester are anything to go by. Chris Wilder's Sheffield United claimed only their second top-flight win of the season, stunning Manchester United 1-2 - a result that left City top at the end of a round of fixtures for the first time this season.
"Of what I saw before the United game, Sheffield United is a team that is alive. [You can tell] from their body language," said Guardiola. "It is not easy with the results they have got this season and that speaks incredibly well about Chris, his staff and the players. The result against United speaks for itself. Everybody knows how difficult it is to win at Old Trafford."
The Blades remain bottom, three points behind a West Brom side who City thumped 0-5 last time out and 10 points from safety. Nevertheless, Guardiola believes they have a chance of survival and is wary of a team his men edged past 1-0 in their previous two meetings, both of which were at Bramall Lane. "I think the reason why they are still a team and they are alive is because they are together for a long time with the same manager and they believe each other a lot," he said. "That is why they were able to do what they did a few days ago. But it is an opportunity to try to play good again and win the game."
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