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Pep Guardiola admits Eric Garcia could leave in January

Pep Guardiola admits Eric Garcia could leave in January
© Reuters
The defender is free to speak to other clubs.

Pep Guardiola accepts defender Eric Garcia could leave Manchester City this month.

The 20-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium, has indicated a desire to move and been heavily linked with a return to boyhood club Barcelona.

The Spaniard is now entitled to speak to other clubs with a view to a summer switch but there have been reports suggesting Barca could even move to complete a deal this month.

Guardiola is unsure how long Garcia will remain at the Etihad Stadium
Guardiola is unsure how long Garcia will remain at the Etihad Stadium (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Asked if that might happen, City boss Guardiola said: "I hope not but maybe the people from Barcelona know more than me. I don't know what is going to happen but maybe it is going to happen."

Garcia is at least back in contention to play against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday after returning to training following a spell in isolation with coronavirus.

Fellow centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are out injured and striker Sergio Aguero is still isolating after being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Guardiola said at a press conference: "I think Eric will back. Nathan and Ayme are still not fit, Sergio I don't think so. The rest I think are OK."

Phil Foden (centre) scored as City beat Brighton 1-0 on Wednesday
Phil Foden (centre) scored as City beat Brighton 1-0 on Wednesday (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

City are emerging as strong title contenders after winning their last four Premier League games.

Their most recent success was a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Brighton on Wednesday and Guardiola feels it is in such games, and this weekend's clash with Palace, that a side's true mettle is shown.

Guardiola said: "If you look at the results for the top teams, every game is complicated and difficult. When you win away against two incredible teams like Chelsea and Man United the headlines are nice but the reality was Brighton and we knew it.

"We played really good against Brighton. We created chances to score three or four goals but we suffered in the last minutes not because we were bad but because they were good.

"Every game is difficult and Sunday will be no exception."

Guardiola refused to criticise Raheem Sterling after his penalty miss
Guardiola refused to criticise Raheem Sterling after his penalty miss (Clive Brunskill/PA)

City spurned numerous chances to make their win over Brighton more comfortable, notably when Raheem Sterling blazed a penalty over the bar in the latter stages.

It was a poor miss but Guardiola has refused to criticise the England forward.

Guardiola said: "He's an incredibly important player for us. Everything we have done would not have been possible without him.

"He will score goals, make assists and help in all departments like normally wingers are not able to. I'm more than happy to have him here with us."

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Phil Foden pictured on November 8, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27205256173965
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd26148453322150
3Leicester CityLeicester26154745301549
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham2613674031945
5Chelsea26128641251644
6Liverpool26127747341343
7Everton2513483833543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs25116841271439
9Aston Villa24123938261239
10Arsenal26114113427737
11Leeds UnitedLeeds26112134344-135
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2797112837-934
13Crystal Palace2696112943-1433
14Southampton2686123144-1330
15Burnley2677121834-1628
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton26511102633-726
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2675142744-1726
18Fulham26411112132-1123
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2638152055-3517
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2632211543-2811

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