Manchester City would rather keep Eric Garcia as an extra member of the squad than sell him on the cheap after turning down Barcelona’s deadline-day move for the defender.
Barca identified the Spain international as their top defensive target and made a late offer which reached around £9 million ($12m), plus add-ons.
The offer was seen as unsatisfactory, however, as, while £4.5m of the add-on fees were seen as being realistically achievable, the final £2.7m was deemed practically impossible.
In the final year of his contract, Garcia was seen as a similar age and profile to City’s summer signing Ferran Torres, who joined form Valencia in a package that could reach £33m ($43m) if all add-ons are matched.
Barca were confident of clinching a compromise on the final day of the transfer window but were unable to reach a figure of £20m ($25m), which may have convinced City to sell.
Pep Guardiola will now have five senior centre-backs in his squad after adding Ruben Dias from Benfica for £62m ($79m) and Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for £40m ($53m), with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones also first-team players.
But with the club starting the season with a mini-injury crisis, and a schedule severely compacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the club would rather have more numbers in the defence than accept Barca’s offer.
Garcia is seen as a trusted member of the squad and is not expected to cause any issues despite the frustrations of seeing the possibility of a deal falling through.
The 19-year-old is also on relatively low wages having broken into Guardiola’s plans from the Academy set-up, which he joined three years ago after leaving La Masia.
He has made it clear that he wants to return to his boyhood club and it is highly unlikely that an extension will be signed before his current contract runs out.
A failure to clinch a deal was a blow to Barca, who created space for Garcia in their squad when they allowed centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo to join Benfica on an initial loan deal on deadline day.
They could potentially make another move for him in January, when he will be free to speak to all European clubs although his heart is set on a return to Camp Nou.
Garcia made his first Premier League appearance last season and went on to feature 20 times in all competitions, playing in high-profile games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Lyon.
He also made his debut for Spain in September in the 4-0 Nations League victory over Ukraine and is currently with Luis Enrique’s squad for the international break.