Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has dropped his biggest hint yet that defender Eric Garcia will move back to Barcelona this summer.
The centre-back impressed at the back end of last season but has had very few opportunities this term, making just three appearances in the Premier League since the start of the campaign.
Guardiola insists his absences from the squad have been purely down to rotation, although it might have something to do with the fact his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
Speaking to the media ahead of the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Guardiola suggested the 20-year-old’s future has already been decided and tried to shed some light on the reasons he’s found himself left out at times.
“Eric Garcia is like a son,” he said. “He was a guy last season that after lockdown was our best central defender. He never made a mistake and played in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
“He’s going to play in Barcelona and that is not an average player – he is a top player. He was not selected in the last two games and it broke my heart.
“That is why it is difficult for all the managers when you have a squad. You cannot imagine what it means.”
Judging by the City boss’ comments, it seems the future of the Spaniard is set.
He was linked with a move back to his boyhood club last summer but given his contract situation and Barcelona’s financial issues, a free transfer was always more likely to be completed the following year.
He hasn’t exactly been missed this season either, and is well down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium as the Cityzens romp towards the title. John Stones and Ruben Dias are Guardiola’s current preferred partnership, while Aymeric Laporte is next in line for a start and Nathan Aké also arrived in the summer as a backup option.