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Manchester City misfit Eric Garcia turned down interest from Arsenal and Chelsea before agreeing to rejoin Barcelona.
Spain defender Garcia has agreed a five-year contract to quit City this summer and return to the club where he started his career.
That move has been on the cards for months with the Spanish giants pushing hard to bring the 20-year-old back on a free transfer.
And City boss Pep Guardiola, who admits Garcia was his best defender last season, recently confirmed it by saying: “He’s going to play in Barcelona.”
But it has now emerged that both Arsenal and Chelsea made an approach to sign Garcia while he was running his contract down.
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Starsport revealed in January how Gunners boss Mikel Arteta wanted to revamp his defence and was in the market for another centre back.
But Arsenal did not pursue their interest in Garcia after his representatives told them he had his heart set on Barcelona.
Chelsea were given the same message when they too made enquiries, and have since brought Antonio Rudiger back into the fold.
Garcia was once a fixture at the heart of the City back four but John Stones and Ruben Dias have since formed a rock-solid partnership.
This season the youngster, who turned down a new contract with the Manchester club, has only made four appearances in the Premier League.
And he is eager for the chance to play alongside his long-time idol Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.
Garcia told Spanish media this week: “I made the decision and the people involved knew it. It would be special to play with Messi.
“Everyone knows that he is the best player in the world and what he does week after week is incredible.
“My situation is the same, I have a contract with City, it is true that this year is ending and what happens outside is carried out by my agent.
“In summer there are the Euros and I have to be prepared for this. I am focused on this season, on my team and on the national team.”
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