Manchester City decided to keep Eric Garcia for the season because he was worth more to them than Barcelona’s £18million offer.
The Blues turned down the Catalan club’s final offer on deadline day, even though it was just £2million short of their “bottom line” valuation of the 19-year-old defender – and despite the fact Garcia can leave for the Nou Camp for nothing next summer after turning down a new contract.
Now City’s football operations officer Omar Berrada has discussed the reasoning behind a move which brought some criticism from City fans, but which angered many more Barca fans, who could not believe their club could not find the extra £2m.
Berrada is a key figure in City’s transfer strategy, keeping control of the budget and ensuring that the club’s moves stay within their overall plan.
And he said the Blues had worked out the value of Garcia for the coming season, given that he is a player who it was known would not be any trouble, despite seeing his dream move disappear.
City had already brought in Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake, with Nicolas Otamendi leaving this year after Vincent Kompany went in 2019 without being replaced.
Said Berrada: “Eric has developed into an important player for us and played some important games, especially in the last few months – semi-finals of the FA Cup, quarter-finals of the Champions League.
“He’s become a top young centre back who Pep trusts, and we feel that keeping him this season was worth more than what we were offered for him.
“We believe that he can add depth to the squad, and can be important in important games.
“This is a season that is going to be very difficult for the players, physically and mentally. It’s very congested, there will be a lot of pressure to play many games both in terms of club competitions but also the international games that they have to play, so it is all very concentrated and congested.
“There is a high risk of injuries, there are risks of quarantine due to Covid so we’ve taken all that into account and taken the decision that we want him to stay. It is important to have more depth in the squad, especially in that position where we’ve had some unfortunate injuries over the last few years.”
Berrada spent eight years in executive roles at Barcelona but declined to offer any insight into why Barcelona were not prepared to bridge the £2million gap.
“I can’t comment on other clubs’ decisions and business,” he said. “We had a conversation with Barcelona about Eric Garcia. We were very clear from the outset of what we felt his valuation was and they weren’t able or willing to meet it so our decision was to keep him. We think he will be important for us this season.”