Barcelona's final assault to sign Man City defender Eric García

Garcia will join for free next summer but Barça want to fast track the deal in January

Barcelona's top January target is Eric Garcia. Both the club and coach Ronald Koeman believes strengthening the defence is the priority next month.

There are many options to be assessed once the new president is elected on Jan. 24. Eric Garcia will join Barça but the club want to do the deal in January -- rather than waiting until the summer when he's available for free.

Negotiates are advanced with the centre-back, who would sign a four and a half year deal. An agreement was first struck last summer but Barça could not agree on a price with City, who wanted €20 million.

Barça now plan to sign a pre-contract agreement with Garcia on Jan. 1. The managing committee will allow it to happen as they feel it's an operation that benefits the club's future.

Garcia can sign the agreement as he will be in the final six months of his deal and will legally be allowed to sign for another club. From there, negotiations can restart with City.

The English club have tried to get him to change his mind and have even offered bettter terms that Barça. But Eric, who came through La Masia, wants to come home.

He believes, now as a full Spain international, it's the perfect time to return. Koeman's been using young defenders like Araujo and Lenglet and has even been playing a back three recently.

Garcia's likely to slot straight into the side, especially with Gerard Pique injured. He will be important in the present and in the future at Camp Nou.

After the agreement with Garcia, Barça will try to talk to City again. The Premier League know that he will be leaving for nothing in the summer, so if they want to make some money, they will have to sell in January.

The player's people have sounded out City this month and are hopeful. Barça are looking to pay very little and want the fee to be paid after the season ends due to financial problems.

It's likely that City end up with a percentage of any future sale or are paid in add-ons instead of an up front fee. There are various options on the table.

In the case of an agreement, the new president will have to ratify it on Jan. 24. The managing committee will not close anything, but deals will be left in place for the incoming board.

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