Guardiola says Man City defender Garcia turns down new deal

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Manchester City's Eric Garcia kicks the ball away from Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, left, during the FA Cup semifinal at Wembley in London, England, Saturday, July 18, 2020. (Matt Childs/AP)

MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City defender Eric Garcia has turned down the offer of a contract extension at the Premier League club.

The 19-year-old centre back has been linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona which he left three years ago.

The Spaniard made 19 first-team appearances this season for City.

“He announced to us that he doesn’t want to extend his contract with Manchester City,” manager Pep Guardiola said Thursday. “He has one more year and after that, he doesn’t want to extend. We want it but he doesn’t want to, so I imagine he wants to play in another place.”

The club this week signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth but will now have to decide whether it makes sense to sell Garcia this summer or risk losing him on a free transfer next year.

The emergence of Garcia had been a bonus for Guardiola in a problem position. The club did not replace former captain Vincent Kompany when he left the club last summer and Aymeric Laporte missed five months of the campaign through injury.

With Guardiola appearing to lack confidence in the pairing of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi in central defence, midfielder Fernandinho was deployed as a makeshift centre back for most of the campaign.

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