Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta wants reunion with Barcelona defender this summer

Arsenal are reportedly preparing a summer swoop for Barcelona defender Eric Garcia, who previously worked under Mikel Arteta at Manchester City.

The table-topping Gunners are already putting plans in plans for when the transfer window reopens and Arteta is believed to be keen to bring in a right-sided centre-back.

William Saliba has nailed down the role this season but Arteta is keen to bring in fresh cover and competition, having already done similarly in the January window with the left-side of his centre-back pairing.

In the winter, Jakub Kiwior was brought in from Serie A side Spezia in a £20million deal to provide cover for Gabriel Magalhaes.

Now Arteta wants another option at right centre-half and, according to Mundo Deportivo, has set his sights on Garcia.

The 22-year-old spent two years playing under Arteta at Manchester City and the Arsenal boss actually tried to sign him in 2020, though he was keen to return to Barcelona.

Garcia ran down his contract and left the Etihad on a free transfer in 2021 to return to Camp Nou – where he came through the academy – but his game time has been rather sporadic.

The defender has only started 11 times in La Liga this season, largely as a result of rotation or injuries, and is way down the pecking order below Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen.

There have been suggestions in the Spanish press that Garcia could look to leave Barca as a result and Arsenal are poised to pounce.

Pep Guardiola spoke very highly of his young compatriot when he was still at City – and had been desperate to keep him – and Arteta is thought to rate Garcia equally highly.

Arsenal actually enquired about Garcia’s availability in January but he was keen to remain at Barcelona until the end of the season and help them secure the title.

Garcia was recently asked about his happiness at the club and did not intimate that he was looking to leave, saying: ‘Things are looking very good at the moment. We are happy and La Liga is on the right track.’

But he could fall further down the pecking order if Xavi brings in another new centre-back – with widespread reports claiming a deal for Inigo Martinez has already been wrapped up for the summer – and that might prompt Garcia to look for a new club.

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