Barcelona target Inter's Martinez and Manchester City's Eric Garcia as rebuild begins

Barcelona target Inter's Martinez and Man City's Garcia as rebuild begins
(Image credit: PA Images)

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez and Manchester City's Eric Garcia have been identified as key targets by new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman, as the Dutchman looks to freshen up an ageing squad still reeling from their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the quarter final of the Champions League.

Koeman is also hopeful Lionel Messi can be convinced to stay, while looking to add some much needed youth and quality to a side which finished empty-handed last season. Messi was reportedly prepared to leave the Camp Nou this summer, frustrated at the club's underperformance in recent seasons.  

Martinez is Barcelona's main summer target, after starring in Inter Milan's run to the Europa League final; the Argentinian is seen as an ideal partner for Messi in attack.

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Inter ultimately fell short to Sevilla in that final, though 21 goals across all competitions last term was an impressive return as Inter also finished just a point behind champions Juventus in Serie A.

(Image credit: PA Images)

The 23-year-old is seen as the ideal long-term replacement to Luis Suarez, with his work-rate, movement and finishing ability key attributes of his game. Suarez will turn 34 during the course of next season and is one of many ageing players that will need rot be replaced in the coming seasons. 

Eric Garcia, meanwhile, has been identified as the number one defensive target this summer. The 19-year-old defender has only recently broken into Pep Guardiola's first team, making 20 appearances last season as Man City won the League Cup, but has reportedly informed City he would like to leave this summer. 

The announcement is a blow to Guardiola, who is a huge admirer of Garcia's ability to build play from the back. The Spanish teenager is seen by Koeman as the future successor to Gerard Pique at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Pique, now 33, has been linked with a move back to the Premier League this summer. 

(Image credit: PA Images)

Koeman has also requested the club bid for Valencia's 25-year-old defender Jose Gaya. The Spaniard will provide competition for Barca stalwart Jordi Alba at left-back, with the  31-year old struggling for form for periods last season. 

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Koeman has been tasked with rebuilding a Barcelona squad in desperate need of some direction, following the club's disastrous recruitment policy of recent years. Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele were signed for more than €120m each over the past three windows, and none have been a particular success for various reasons. It is thought Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti and Frankie De Jong could also be made available this summer. 

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RONALDO AT INTER MILAN The UEFA Cup, the goals and the injuries – the full story of his time in Italy

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Ed McCambridge
Staff Writer

Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.