Javi Garcia Emerges as Favourite to Leave as Man City Look to Comply with Rules

Rob PollardFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2014

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 15: Javi Garcia reacts during the friendly match between Al Ain and Manchester City at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15, 2014 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Francois Nel/Getty Images

The expected arrival of Eliaquim Mangala to Manchester City causes the club a few problems in terms of fulfilling the home-grown quota laid out by the Premier League. The Frenchman, whose move from Porto appears to be at an advanced stage (via BBC Sport), would be the 18th non-home-grown player in the City squad, with league rules stating clubs can name a maximum of 17.

One of their foreign contingent, it would appear, is very likely to leave before the transfer window closes.

Strong interest in Alvaro Negredo appeared to make him a favourite to make way, but his injury, which will keep him out for "a few months," and the reiteration of his desire to stay at the club have halted speculation about a departure (via BBC Sport).

Negredo’s early-season form during the last campaign was so good that few City fans wanted him to be the man to exit. There’s a strong feeling that Negredo can easily return to the level which saw him hit 23 goals in his first 32 appearances for City, particularly now that he has a season in English football under his belt.

It seems Javi Garcia is now the man most likely to move on, with David Anderson in the Mirror suggesting Napoli have shown an interest. City, he says, are prepared to offer him around, either on loan or in a permanent deal.

It’s a move which would make sense for the Sky Blues. Garcia, despite his excellent form towards the end of last season which was crucial in securing the club’s title win, has never really settled since his £15.8 million move from Benfica in 2012, his lack of pace and speed of thought seemingly holding him back from impacting the Premier League in the way he would like.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15:  Javi Garcia of Manchester City competes with Chris Taylor of Blackburn Rovers during the Budweiser FA Cup Third Round Replay match between Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers at the Etihad Stadium on January 15, 2014 in
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

He’s an intelligent player whose positional sense and tactical awareness often goes unnoticed, but his lack of pace and sharpness in possession has seen him fail to secure a regular first-team place.

However, his emergence as a key player in the final months of last season was a real triumph over adversity. His first season at the club had gone so badly he was singled out by the City fans as a target of hate and criticised in the stands to an unhealthy level.

But last season he slowly turned the tide of opinion. An outstanding display away at Bayern Munich in a famous 3-2 win began an upward trajectory along with his performance in the 2-0 win away at Hull, where he flitted between defensive midfield and centre-back seamlessly, signalling the moment he was accepted by City fans everywhere.

With City’s title challenge in peril in the closing weeks, Garcia, as well as Martin Demichelis, Edin Dzeko and David Silva, emerged as some of Manuel Pellegrini’s best and most consistent players right when it mattered.

Yet the sense that Garcia isn’t ever going to be a top-class Premier League player persists, and with City’s well-stocked midfield and their need to sell in order to comply with Premier League rules, the Spaniard is surely the favourite to make way.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  Javi Garcia of Manchester City competes with Ross Barkley of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park on May 3, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Grif
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The arrival of Fernando from Porto earlier in the summer pushed the 27-year-old further down the pecking order, and a move to a league where technical proficiency is valued over pace may well see him flourish.

City will struggle to recoup anywhere near the money they paid, particularly with clubs fully aware of their need to offload at least one of their foreign contingent. Garcia, though, is surely the man most likely to go, and City are likely to be touting him around in an attempt to entice a bid from elsewhere.


Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard_