Barcelona could complete the signing of Manchester City defender Eric Garcia before the end of the January transfer window as a result of the Premier League side lowering their valuation.
It has long been a question of when rather than if Garcia would return to his former club, having traded La Masia for the Etihad Campus as a 16-year-old in 2017.
Now 20, he has become part of the first-team squad at City but has refused to sign a new contract and will be leaving Manchester one way or another by the end of the season at the latest.
City’s demands of up to €20m last summer priced Barça out of a deal amid severe financial strain at Camp Nou. But the Premier League side are well aware that they stand to lose Garcia on a free transfer unless they are willing to agree to a more affordable deal this month.
Barcelona are already permitted to formally negotiate and agree a contract with Garcia because he has entered the final six months of his City deal. At the very least, the Catalans can secure his signature on a pre-contract agreement for the summer.
Whether a transfer can go ahead this month will depend on talks between the clubs.
Mundo Deportivo claims City’s demands have halved since last summer. Instead of asking for a €10m fixed price and up to €10m in add-ons, it is said the Premier League side now value Garcia at €5m plus another €5m, or up to €10m in total.
MD also claims that Barça wouldn’t even have to pay the initial €5m up front and could defer the payment until next season, which would be a significant boost to the club’s accounts because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on revenue streams.
Despite coach Ronald Koeman recently stating his desire to bring in a ‘number nine’, another centre-back has to be a priority for Barça if they can only commit to one signing.
Acting president Carles Tusquets would have to present the proposal to sign Garcia to the presidential candidates for approval. If Barça wait until after the election later this month there may not be enough time remaining in the window with the upheaval that will be going on.