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Barcelona candidate Freixa defends blocking deal for Man City defender Garcia

Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa has defended blocking the January arrival of Manchester City youngster Eric Garcia.

Off contract in June, Garcia is ready to move to Barca immediately - but the deal has been blocked with the election not to be held until January 24.

It will mean Garcia being available to City manager Pep Guardiola to the end of the season - a solution that suits the Catalan.

The young stopper, originally recruited from Barcelona's La Masia academy, had made it no secret he wished to return to his formative club in 2021. Attempts by City to discuss new terms had been resisted by the player and his management team since the end of last season.

Barca's football staff had wished to sign Garcia this month after losing Gerard Pique to a serious knee injury, with fears he'll miss the majority of the season. But Freixa and his fellow presidential candidates Joan Laporta and Victor Font have agreed no transfer decisions can be made until after the election.

Quoted by Sport via Le 10 Sport, Freixa reasoned: "Eric Garcia wants to come to Barcelona and that is why he did not renew his contract with his club.

"The best option will be to come from June 30, when he will be free.

"It was an act of responsibility to say no now because we had to pay a transfer of 8 or 10 million (euros) and we know the current state of the payroll."

- updated January 18

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Paul Vegas

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