Whilst Manchester City might well be tempted to search for a replacement for Eric Garcia in the January or summer transfer windows, they arguably have a player who can eclipse the Spaniard ready-made in the City academy.
However, Pep Guardiola can replace the 21-year-old by promoting academy talent Taylor Harwood-Bellis to the first-team on a permanent basis.
The 18-year-old has already made six appearances for the City first-team in his short career, whilst he has been a regular in City’s academy sides in recent seasons (per Transfermarkt).
Back in 2019, Guardiola was full of praise for the centre-back after he and Eric Garcia started together in City’s Carabao Cup win against Preston North End, saying:
“I am pleased a lot with Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the back, they helped us a lot.
“They combined, they suit each other perfectly and they have played in the academy every weekend.
“They are exceptional human beings with a good mentality. I am very pleased.” (per Goal)
Therefore, the Englishman has clearly already impressed Guardiola a lot with his performances in the past, so when Garcia leaves the club, it seems clear that City won’t need to venture into the transfer market, as they already have a natural successor in Harwood-Bellis.
He has featured twice in the Carabao Cup already this season, featuring as a right-back in the win against Burnley, which demonstrates the youngster’s versatility and willingness to play wherever needed, whilst he was also on the bench for City’s Champions League fixtures against Marseille and Porto, which will have been a great experience for the youngster.
Whilst the defender is unlikely to establish himself as a regular in City’s first-team any time soon, due to the plethora of options available to Guardiola at the back, there seems no reason why he can’t be a big part of the Citizens’ future, providing he continues to work hard and prove himself with the academy sides.