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Mercato Madness: Javi Garcia is on the radar, but should he be?

Manchester City needs to jettison some players thanks to roster restrictions, and defensive mid Javi Garcia is one of them. Napoli are reportedly interested, but should they really be considering adding the Spaniard?

We don't know either, Javi.
We don't know either, Javi.
Francois Nel

The trouble with oil-rich clubs that spend megabucks every summer is that eventually, some pretty decent players get stuck on the bench and have to be shipped out for one reason or another. For Manchester City, that reason is usually that they have too many non-Homegrown players on their roster and need to sell off the ones they don't actually think they'll use.

This year, the odd man out seems to be Javi Garcia, a 27 year old Spanish international defensive mid who joined City two years ago from Benfica for some €20 million. His time in England hasn't gone so swimmingly, however, as he just never seems to have quite adapted to the systems used by either Roberto Mancini or Manuel Pellegrini, or to the speed of the EPL. Now, after City brought in Fernandinho last summer and Fernando Reges this summer, Garcia has no place in the defending EPL champions' squad.

That's lead to speculation that Napoli's seemingly never-ending hunt for a good holding midfielder is now turning his way, with many in the press noting that Garcia and Rafa Benitez share the same agent. It's a bit of an odd justification, though; while sharing an agent can certainly make a potential deal easier to get done, it's far from a reason to make one in and of itself.

There's also some very real concerns in terms of fit with the squad. Part of the problem that Garcia had in England is that he's terribly, awfully slow. Rafa wants to employ a side with energy and verve, but Garcia would act as an anchor in midfield, forcing Jorginho or Gokhan Inler to sit deeper in order to maintain shape and thus pulling support for the attack (or press against the opponent's attack) well out of useful positions.

That issue could be addressed by employing him in central defense, where Garcia can certainly contribute, but that still doesn't make sense for Napoli for a couple of reasons. One, that would mean they still need a holding mid, which is what Garcia is ostensibly supposed to be. Two, Napoli need to improve their defense if they actually sign a defender, and as a center back Garcia is probably behind Federico Fernandez in quality.

Probably the biggest issue of all, however, would be wages. Garcia is on very high wages, supposedly in the area of €90,000 per week. That's far too high for the level of production you could reasonably expect from him, especially with what looks like a shaky fit with the squad. Even if you get him to take a reduction on his wages, they'd still probably be too high. That means a loan with split wages would be the smarter and more desirable move for Napoli if they want Garcia, and that's something Manchester City almost certainly would not be interested in doing.

This is a move that might make sense as a buy-low option on the surface, but it falls apart pretty quickly once you look past that. Hopefully these rumors are either nonsense or just Napoli feeling out a desperation-reserve option for their transfer plans, because this does not seem like a good idea for the club right now.