Guardiola hopes Garcia stays with Man City after defender agrees terms with Barcelona

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Pep Guardiola says he hopes Eric Garcia does not leave in the January transfer window, but did not rule out the Spain international joining Barcelona.

The Catalan giants have freed up enough funds to try to wrap up a deal for the 20-year-old this month, with the problematic centre-back position seen as a top priority as they look to close the gap on La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.

Garcia is out of contract at the end of the summer and Goal has been told that he has already reached an agreement over personal terms with Barca.

But no deal is in place with the Premier League side and Guardiola says he hopes Garcia will stay at the Etihad Stadium until the end of the season.

"I hope not, but maybe Barcelona knows better than me, I don’t know," Guardiola said about a possible deal.

"I don’t know what's going to happen, but maybe it's going to happen."

It is understood that Barca will offer only €5 million for Garcia, who left Barca's La Masia Academy to join City in 2017.

Before an official bid is made, interim president Carles Tusquets will ask all three presidential candidates their opinion ahead of the vote on January 24 and, if they all give the green light, the club will make their move.

Garcia has not played since picking up an injury in the Champions League victory over Marseille on December 9.

He also tested positive for Covid-19 but has finally been made available to the squad for Sunday's clash with Crystal Palace.

Garcia is likely to make the bench as fellow defenders Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake are still ruled out through injury.

City have won their last seven matches in all competitions but have failed to beat Crystal Palace on their last two visits to the Etihad Stadium.

Roy Hodgson's side have recovered well from a 7-0 thrashing by Liverpool last month and Guardiola says every club can be dangerous.

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"All the clubs have had their up and downs this season, more than ever," the City boss added.

"Every team has three or four good results and after, one, two, three bad results. Crystal Palace is not an exception.

"What they change I don't know. They know it, I don't know it."