New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman targets Manchester City defender Eric Garcia as man to replace Gerard Pique

New Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman targets Manchester City defender Eric Garcia as man to replace Gerard Pique

NEW Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman aims to bring Eric Garcia back to the Nou Camp this summer.

The Catalan giants have made it clear they want to re-sign Manchester City’s centre-back, 19, who came through their famed La Masia academy.

Yet with funds tight at the club, Barca chiefs were willing to wait until May when Garcia’s Etihad contract will have expired.

Now Koeman wants to see if their move for the talented youngster — who has been called up by Spain this week — can be brought forward.

With doubts over the future of veteran Barca defender Gerard Pique, 33, Koeman is hoping to secure a centre-half for the long-term future.

City boss Pep Guardiola revealed earlier this month that the Spanish superkid has turned down a new deal and is keen to leave.

But Etihad moneymen are demanding £30million to consider selling now — and Barca are unlikely to reach that figure.

City would also be happy to keep Garcia next season and let him leave for free next summer.

Dutchman Koeman admits it will be difficult to make sweeping changes this window, due to the economic impact of Covid-19.

But the ex-Everton and Southampton chief knows he must shake things up after their humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich — which led to Quique Setien being axed as manager.

So instead, he will prioritise two or three new faces this summer — with Garcia expected to be one of them.

Koeman said: “Big clubs are undergoing major losses and I’m aware it may be hard to bring in five or six players immediately.”

City’s willingness to part with Garcia (right) this summer is likely to be linked to their success in the transfer market.

They have already paid £40m to sign defender Nathan Ake from relegated Bournemouth.

And Guardiola is eyeing a move for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, despite the Senegal centre-half’s £80m price tag.

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