Pep determined to fend off Barca interest

English Premier League

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has issued a strong response to FC Barcelona amidst their pursuit to lure defender Eric Garcia back to Camp Nou.

The 19-year-old defender has enjoyed a breakout season at the Etihad under Guardiola after taking advantage of the long-term injury of Aymeric Laporte and the loss of form of John Stones at centre-back.

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Having joined City in 2017 from La Masia in a €1.7-million move, his nine Premier League appearances have convinced the Blaugrana that he could be the potential long-term successor to stalwart Gerard Pique.

However, Guardiola has warned his former side that a similar circumstance of Pique returning to Barcelona after a stint in England with Manchester United won't happen easily due to their desire to keep him on board.

Scroll through the gallery to see the new Barcelona home kit for the 2020/21 season

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"If they want him they must call [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain] and we'll try to convince him to stay here for many years," Guardiola told reporters after their 5-0 thumping of Newcastle United, as per ESPN.

"I'm confident he will stay but it's his decision. He knows we want him but it was the same with Leroy [Sane] and he didn't want to stay. Eric knows, his agent knows and his family knows we want him."

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The teenager has featured five times for the Spain U-21 national team and has been touted for a call-up to the senior squad since his emergence as a ball-playing centre back with the Citizens.

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