Javi Garcia to Zenit St Petersburg: Latest Transfer Details, Reaction and More

Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2014

AL AIN, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 15:  Javi Garcia of Manchester City in action 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 Warren Little/Getty Images)
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Manchester City midfielder Javi Garcia has joined Zenit St Petersburg after two years at the Premier League champions.   

The 27-year-old Spaniard's move was confirmed by Manchester City after many recent reports suggested that Garcia would be making the switch to Russia:

Garcia looked set to struggle to break into the Sky Blues first team in the new season after the addition by boss Manuel Pellegrini of Porto's Fernando.

Along with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho—City's first-choice central midfield options—the arrival of Fernando further marginalised Garcia at the club—he made only 15 league starts last season.

Furthermore, the recent arrival of Eliaquim Mangala at City meant Garcia's potential place as a centre-back—where he was often put to good use per the Independent's Jack Pitt-Brooke—looked to have also disappeared:

He joins last year's Russian Premier League runners-up Zenit, currently managed by former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas.

The young Portuguese coach looks to be building a strong team in Russia's second city and Garcia rejoins his former Benfica teammates  Ezequiel Garay and Axel Witsel.

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 24: FC Zenit St. Petersburg head coach Andre Villas-Boas looks on during the Russian Football League Championship match between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and FC Krylia Sovetov Samara at the Petrovsky stadium on March 24, 2014
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Zenit have won 4-0 and 8-1 in their opening two games of the new top-flight season and Garcia looks set to be assured of one of the seven starting places allowed for overseas players in league games under Russian rules.

With a starting place highly unlikely in the new season at City, Garcia looks to have made an astute move with Zenit also likely to benefit from his experience and talent.

Furthermore, having bought the player for £16 million, City have barely lost out in selling Garcia for a reported €15m according to Paul Clennam of Goal.comThey have also reduced the number of non-homegrown players in their squad—although they are still one over the Champions League limit.

Garcia is a very talented defensive midfielder and will likely thrive in Russia, especially under Villas-Boas who is taking the league by storm in its early stages.